Government, Latest News, Preston County

Preston County fills coordinator position

KINGWOOD — The Preston County Commission hired its first county coordinator on Wednesday.

Joseph Hauger, 52, of Terra Alta, will start the job June 1, with a salary of $45,000 a year.

“This is one of those positions where you feel like you can really make a difference in the county, help the commissioners to move forward, keep them rolling along,” Hauger said. “And I’ve seen myself in a newspaper role also serving the community in that fashion, and to move into another job where I’m basically filling that kind of a role … It’s still pretty different. But I think it fills the need that I have. That’s just that I need to be able to contribute.”

Hauger is a native Prestonian and has spent his entire career in the newspaper business. He’s been on the job since 1992, after graduating from Wheeling Jesuit College. He’s worked in Wheeling, Michigan, and has been the editor of the Preston County News & Journal and the Garrett County Republican, both of which are owned by the same parent company, since 2017.

After the unanimous vote to hire Hauger, Commission President Samantha Stone congratulated him and wished him good luck. 

He told the commission the job will be a radical shift, but with the experience he’s had observing meetings and looking at a lot of paperwork over the past 30 years, he expects the transition between careers to be a smooth one.

Hauger thanked the commissioners, and by extension the people of Preston County, for the opportunity, and said he hopes to meet and exceed expectations. 

Commissioner Dave Price pointed out they now have two Joes, the other being Joe LaRue, who was recently hired as the county’s facilities manager. 

“We’ll have to see whether two Joes can equal one Kathy (Mace),” Hauger joked. 

Mace, the county administrator, is retiring at the end of June. When she announced her retirement, Mace suggested her job be split into two positions. The coordinator’s duties will include handling day-to-day operations, such as grant writing, overseeing office staff and the animal shelter.

“She’s the one who really knows it all. The county is going to suffer a loss without her but she does deserve to retire at some point, even if this is for the second time now,” Hauger said of Mace. “So my goal is to just absorb, just act like a sponge, sitting next to her and getting everything I can in 30 days. And it’s going to be quite a 30 days.”

TWEET @DominionPostWV