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Greenbrier County delegate concerned by lack of urgency regarding PEIA

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By: Pete Davis, WV MetroNews

LEWISBURG, W.Va. — A member of the House of Delegates representing southern West Virginia is expressing concern about the future of the state’s Public Employee Insurance Agency, as an important deadline approaches.

Del. Jeff Campbell, D-Greenbrier, spoke with MetroNews affiliate WJLS about the sequence of events that have occurred since the creation of the PEIA Task Force in February.

Campbell, a classroom teacher, said he’s worried that the continual cancellation of task force meetings over the past several months, and the inaction that has resulted, could jeopardize the chances of resolving a number of issues which the task force was supposed to address.

“There was some chatter, back in the summer, that if some things were not taken care of…there could be another teacher work stoppage in October.  Thankfully, that did not happen,” he said, but added, “The goal of that task force all along has been to have some type of resolution ready to present by the December interim.  Well, that’s about three weeks away, so hopefully something is going to be announced or some kind of fix or something resolved, relatively soon.  However, when meetings continue to be cancelled, I don’t see how that’s going to be possible.”

Campbell said he was pleased that Gov. Justice recently pledged to add $100-million to PEIA funding, but was worried about the fluctuation of yearly state revenues.

“All that is based on our revenue surpluses over the first quarter, and that’s about $120-million but half (of) that, by a state code, has to go into the rainy day fund.  So, that leaves $60-million.  That’s not enough to put into the PEIA and to cover the pay raises,” said Campbell, who has been a teacher in the Greenbrier County school system since 2001, and has taught Social Studies at Eastern Greenbrier Middle School in Ronceverte for the last 10 years.

Campbell was appointed by the governor to the fill the seat in District 42, when then-Delegate Stephen Baldwin was named to the State Senate in District 10, following the resignation of Sen. Ron Miller in 2017.  Campbell won election to the seat outright in November.