Mercer County Commissioners will choose new board of health members

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PRINCETON, WV (WVNS) — As the COVID-19 pandemic got worse in Mercer County, issues were also brought to light at the Mercer County Board of Health. In the matter of one week, three members resigned from the board.

Greg Puckett, Mercer County Commissioner, said residents expressed issues over delayed reports of positive cases, and poor handling of the COVID-19 pandemic

“We need trust in our public health system. We need to have a reassurance that we are doing everything we can to protect the general public,” Puckett said.

Because of these issues, Puckett made a motion to write a letter to the state, asking to remove all existing board of health members.

“I think from a public trust standpoint, I looked at this board and said we need to make some changes, some holistic changes,” Puckett said.

This means the state would have to take over while the commission chose all five new members. However, there was no second to the motion by either of the other two commissioners. So, his motion died.

Commissioner Bill Archer said he did not agree with Puckett’s idea, which is why he did not second the motion.

“In my opinion, dissolving something, dissolving a board like that, is kind of a drastic step. I think if we can work through our issues and then get off on a better footing, I think we can restore better confidence,” Archer said.

Now, the commissioners have to work together to replace the two board members. They are accepting recommendations from the public until Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020. Puckett said he hopes the two people can help get the board back on track.

“We are working as diligently as possible that we pick the right people and preserve the public health of all,” Puckett said.

Archer agrees. He said he is also hoping for diverse candidates.

“We have very few representatives of color in any kind of position. I absolutely think we need to look at candidates of color, qualified candidates of color to fill some of these boards,” Archer said.

County commissioners hope to have a decision by Friday, Aug. 14, 2020.

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