Some Monongalia County Assessor’s Office employees say they have no confidence in the county commission

Source: WVMetroNews

June 5, 2024 


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A group of workers in the Monongalia County Assessor’s Office say they have no confidence in the Monongalia County Commission and that’s why they want to join a union.

A member of the Monongalia County Assessor’s Office addressed county commissioners Wednesday about their efforts to organize with the United Mine Workers of America. The workers want a resolution from the commission. It’s unclear how many workers want to join the union.

Assessor’s office employee Amy Gumney told commissioners the group of employees has approved a no-confidence vote in the county commission and they want to be represented by the UMWA in order “to keep everything honest.” She accused commissioners of operating a “good old boys club” and not being transparent or accurate about pay and benefits information.

She said the county has a current surplus of about $8 million, and the expected tax revenue in the current year would add another $5 million to that figure. Gumney expects some of that surplus to be directed toward increased wages and benefits for workers struggling in the current high-inflation economy.

“So with that kind of surplus, I have to ask why?” Gumney questioned. “Our insurance premiums continue to go up, our deductible has gone up, our coverage is 90–10, and the cost of living has skyrocketed, so why do you choose not to give a cost of living raise to the employees that keep the county in that surplus?”

Gumney criticized commissioners about comments to the media.

“You tell tell half-truths to the media concerning our insurance and pay raises,” Gumney said. “For example in June of 2023, you told WAJR our premium increase for 2023 would be $17 per month when in truth it was double that.”

She said a recent bonus that was announced for all employees really wasn’t a clear statement. Additionally, she said only 20 employees in the assessor’s office did receive the bonus.

“Every year I’ve been here, we’ve given the employees something, so we certainly wanted to take care of the employees who take care of us,” Gumney presented. “What he failed to mention is that if an employee has been given any type of raise that year, you did not give them a cost of living raise.”

UMWA District 31 Vice President Mike Payton said the commission is represented on the state level by the West Virginia Association of Counties. Payton said the county is required to pay dues, and the organization acts on their behalf, much like a union, according to Payton.

“It’s kind of hypocritical when you’re part of an association that lobbies on your behalf and speaks as a third party, and you look at your workers and say, Do as I say, not as I do,” Payton said.

Commissioner Jeff Arnett explained that there is no requirement for approval from the commission to seek representation. Arnett continued that they have communicated that to the employees verbally and in writing.

“We don’t have a required action to approve the assessor’s office employees to have a vote. If they want to have a vote, they can have a vote at any time; they don’t have to have our permission to do that,” Arnett said. “That’s what was stated in our letter, and that’s been our position all along, so we have not denied an opportunity to have a vote.”

The county commission has said the workers don’t need a resolution from them to join a union.

Written By: Mike Nolting