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For public safety’s sake, Governor Justice was right to veto budget bill

As a history buff, I have long believed that we should learn from the good and bad decisions of the men and women who preceded us. We have all known people who feel they can get another year out of their 30-year-old roof that s leaking, or a few more miles from a set of bald tires. Such decisions invite bad outcomes. The budget that legislators had proposed for the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety is even more dangerous than placing a bucket under the leak or leaving bald tires on your daughter s car. Both need to be fixed or you risk facing expensive and dire consequences. The budget approved by the Senate and House of Delegates, which was then vetoed by Governor Justice, would have resulted in a $9.4 million reduction for Military Affairs and Public Safety when compared to what the governor had introduced.

West Virginia s Division of Corrections would have been hit with $7.2 million of that budget cut, at a time when it struggles to recruit and keep employees and has hard-working, full-time employees who qualify for government assistance. Our correctional facilities, meanwhile, await a combined $100 million worth of repairs to roofs that should have been replaced or fixed years ago, among other structural issues. The Division of Corrections has shifted money meant for unfilled positions to pay its operating bills since 2010, to make up for the lack of funding in that part of its budget. This presents a danger to public safety and represents the worst scenario of kicking the can down the road. At the heart of this situation are the lives of correctional officers and inmates. I have traveled the world, and can declare with confidence that the West Virginia National Guard is the best of the best. The work that they have performed, for example, in response to natural disasters speaks for itself. Rightfully, they are heroes to the flood victims in West Virginia. They need money to refit and repair and to prepare for the next disaster, but instead would have received a $478,409 reduction in their budget.

Just as lawmakers talked about helping our correctional officers, only to cut their budget, our legislators discussed giving our State Police enough money for a new cadet class and then delivered to them a nearly $1 million budget reduction. Other offices and agencies within Military Affairs and Public Safety were to receive reductions totaling $660,572. These included the West Virginia Intelligence Fusion Center, which works with law enforcement both here and across the country, and the Homeland Security State Administrative Agency that helps first responders throughout West Virginia obtain needed equipment and training. Both agencies were formed after 9/11 to prevent terrorist attacks and have been very successful. To cut the budgets of these agencies is very risky. I submit to the citizens of West Virginia that a roof with holes in it is fine until it rains, but public safety does not have the luxury to place buckets under its problems and wait for the repairman. Public safety is the repairman. We cannot allow anything to hinder the repairman, because he or she needs to respond 24/7 and be at peak performance.

(Jeff S. Sandy, CFE, CAMS, is secretary of the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.)

Shepherd announces commencement speakers

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. Fred T. White, senior director of business development at ABS Consulting, will deliver the baccalaureate commencement address during Shepherd University s 144th Commencement on Saturday, May 6. He will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Business degree during the ceremony. Also honored during the baccalaureate commencement will be Shepherd alumnus Michael A. Smith, president of the Shepherd University Foundation, who will be awarded the President s Award for his service to the university.

Admission to the baccalaureate commencement ceremony, which begins at 1:50 p.m. in the Butcher Center arena, is by ticket only. Earlier in the day, Shepherd University alumnus Dr. John E. Adams, assistant vice president emeritus for student affairs, will deliver the graduate commencement address at the graduate ceremony at 11 a.m. in the Frank Center Theater. Adams will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Pedagogy degree during the ceremony. This marks the first year for a separate commencement ceremony for master s degree recipients.

Admission to the graduate ceremony is by ticket only. Baccalaureate Ceremony: 1:50 p.m., Butcher Center

White has been associated with ABS Consulting since 2009. The firm provides compliance services, optimization of asset performance, and advanced engineering support and management systems for a variety of sectors including marine; offshore; oil, gas and chemical; government; and power. Recent projects include work with the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Coast Guard, and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Previously, White served as the vice president for business development at Universal Systems and Technology, working with Homeland Security, South Carolina chemical companies, South Carolina State Ports Authority and the Coast Guard. White received an M.S. in instructional technology from Florida State University and a B.S. in management from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. During his career with the Coast Guard, he served as an anti-submarine warfare officer on the USCG Cutter Jarvis, among other posts.

He has received the U.S. Coast Guard Legion of Merit, U.S. Coast Guard Meritorious Service Medal (three times), U.S. Coast Guard Commendation Medal (three times), U.S. Coast Guard Achievement Medal, and U.S. Navy Achievement Medal. Smith is the vice president of Valley Proteins Inc., a family-owned business in Winchester, Va., founded by Smith s grandfather more than 60 years ago. The company s focus is on creating renewable resources for animal feed and contributing to a cleaner environment by developing clean-energy bio fuel. Smith earned a B.S. degree in business from Shepherd in 1989 and was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, serving as the group s fundraising chair.

Smith is the fifth president of the Shepherd University Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization incorporated in 1961 that serves as the fundraising arm of Shepherd University. Smith has endowed two funds with the Shepherd University Foundation in support of Shepherd University: the Gerald F. Smith Memorial Scholarship in honor of his father and the Edward L. Snyder Chair for Business honoring his grandfather. In July 2016, Smith supported Shepherd s efforts to create a School of Business by issuing a $250,000 challenge grant in support of revitalizing the business program, the first challenge grant at this financial level for Shepherd.

The challenge was met by donors, and more than $650,000 was raised for the project. Graduate Ceremony: 11 a.m., Frank Center Theater

Graduate ceremony speaker Dr. John E. Quincy Adams, a resident of Shepherdstown, began his career at Shepherd in 1971 with the position of residence director/admission counselor in Thacher Hall. Over the next 40 years, he assumed several titles including retention specialist, housing director, director of counseling and career services, director of Washington Gateway, assistant and associate dean of student affairs, assistant vice president for student affairs and dean of students, and interim vice president for student affairs.

In 2013, he finished his Shepherd career as a university professor. His accomplishments during his long career at Shepherd include creating the Career Development Center, acquiring a $570,000 cooperative education federal grant, implementing the Washington Gateway Program. He also served as team writer for the College Student Development and Administration curriculum and proposal.

In 2012, he received Shepherd s Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award.

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