Government, Latest News, Monongalia County

Mon Commission taps Dower for regional review committee, drops COVID policies

MORGANTOWN — The Monongalia County Commission has named Jonathan Dower as its representative on the regional board tasked with vetting applicants and proposals seeking opioid settlement dollars through the West Virginia First Foundation. 

The regional review committee is a requirement of the memorandum of understanding outlining the state’s opioid settlement disbursement process. It will serve as a pass-through, vetting funding applications within its footprint before they get to the West Virginia First Foundation, the state-level body ultimately responsible for allocating funds. 

Assuming full participation, the Region 4 committee will be comprised of 26 members — one representative for each county and one representative collectively selected by the municipalities within each county. 

As of Wednesday afternoon, the municipal representative from Monongalia County had not been finalized. 

Dower was previously the county commission’s choice to represent all of Region 4 on the 11-member West Virginia First Foundation.  

That position went to Jonathan Board following a July vote of representatives from 28 of the 76 invited government bodies across the region. 

In addition to personal experience with addiction and recovery, Dower has served or is serving as director of recovery services for Ascension Recovery Services; executive director of West Virginia Sober Living; vice president of the West Virginia Alliance of Recovery Residences; and president-elect of the West Virginia Association of Addiction and Prevention Professionals and committee chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Substance Abuse. 

In other news from Wednesday’s meeting, the county’s COVID-19 policies have officially been rescinded. 

The move comes nearly four years after the state’s March 16, 2020, declaration of a State of Emergency in response to the viral pandemic, and more than a year after the state of emergency was lifted, on Jan. 1, 2023. 

“Basically, this gets us back to normal operations. We’ve had a lot of questions in the past. We know COVID is still out there in the community, but the effects of it aren’t the same as it was two years ago and the recommendations have changed,” Commission President Sean Sikora said. 

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