County Asked To Cover VOCA Grant Interim
Prosecuting Attorney Timothy Haught appeared before the Wetzel County Commission Tuesday morning regarding an e-mail he received Monday from Sara E. Miller, criminal justice specialist, at the West Virginia Division of Justice and Community Services.
Prosecutor Haught stated that Miller oversees a portion of the county’s Victims of Crime Act grant. Miller’s e-mail indicated that the Division of Justice and Community Services has received a VOCA allocation for the Fiscal Year 2013 and has submitted the county’s federal allocation. However, “until they receive the actual award, they cannot answer questions about funding.”
Basically, Haught said, “everything has been approved but they don’t have their money yet.”
“We were in this situation once before,” Haught noted. “The commission paid (the victim advocate’s) salary. They paid the grant portion until the grant came in. My understanding is that you were reimbursed for that when the grant came through.”
Haught speculated that the current issue with acquiring the funds is most likely a result of the sequestration.
“I talked to (Tyler County Prosecutor) Luke Furbee about this. What he did in Tyler County was that the commission agreed to pay that program, which is essentially (the victim advocate’s) salary. You are already matching half of it. It would be picking up the other half until we figure out if we are going to get our grant or not. I think everything has been approved. It just has not received allocation and the governor hasn’t signed off.”
Previously, in February, Prosecutor Haught had visited with the commission to request that they match so much of the grant funds that the prosecutor’s office receives from the state. During this time, Haught stated he believes having a victim’s advocate has been very successful and very helpful. “One area that the victim’s advocate has been most successful with is keeping victims informed and obtaining restitution for them,” he had said. Haught noted at the time that, over the past decade, well over $100,000 has been recovered by his office.
He added, “Victims of crime are very appreciative for what Terry does. Sometimes he has to provide transportation, because many victims do not have transportation . . . We have to make arrangements for counseling for victims as well, particularly victims of sexual assault.”
Haught also stated that Long has been the second victim’s advocate the prosecuting attorney’s office has had and he is also a former deputy sheriff. “He’s very well acquainted with people in the county and the situation here in Wetzel County,” Haught had stated.
“This isn’t a great deal of money,” President Don Mason noted in February of the money allocated for the victim’s advocate position.
“It’s not,” Haught agreed. “We won’t get a great deal of money. We’ve asked for more, and we are limited in terms of what we do. Terry serves a dual function.” He added, “Some of the things he does are purely grant-related and some of the things he does are investigative related. This is actually set up in Wetzel for a part-time victim’s advocate, the way this salary is.” He added, “So he is a part-time victim’s advocate and a part-time investigator . . . I’m very fortunate to have him.”
The commission took no action the request, but directed Haught to check with the county’s bookkeeper about its feasibility.