CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A new contract will give those with the Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia, based in Beckley, one year to prove the value of the Courtesy Patrol — the roadside assistance welfare-to-work program focused on the state’s highways.

The Citizens Conservation Corps, which has operated the Courtesy Patrol since 1998, outbid another company for the contract valued at $3.1 million.  The new contract, which was awarded this week, is several hundred thousand dollars less than the current contract which runs through June 30.

During a special session earlier this month, the Legislature changed how the Courtesy Patrol is funded after initially leaving money for the Courtesy Patrol completely out of the state budget.

Senate Minority Leader Mike Hall (R-Putnam, 04), though, said that funding is in danger of being eliminated altogether.

“I even think the people who advocate for the Courtesy Patrol believe that the days are numbered,” said Senate Minority Leader Mike Hall (R-Putnam, 04). “But it’s not like, let’s just cut them off. Let’s make sure that we’re not getting rid of something that may actually save a life or do something for somebody that’s in dire straits out there.”

Lottery money has funded the Courtesy Patrol for decades but, as the state budget gets tighter, there’s been a push to put that money to use elsewhere to help tourism. “I would lean toward doing the statewide promotion, but I wouldn’t do that to the detriment of giving the Courtesy Patrol a fair chance,” Hall said of the possible redirection.

As part of the contract, the Courtesy Patrol will have to operate 16 hours a day, seven days a week. The current operating hours are from 3 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Critics have argued such roadside assistance is not as necessary these days as in the past.

“Newer cars have this On-Star thing, (there are) cell phones, AAA — I’m a member of AAA — a lot of people who have insurance policies, a part of their policy provisions is an 800 number to call if you need road service,” said Hall.

Questions have also been raised about the large salaries some executives within the Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia — the contractor which operates a total of five non-profit organizations — are paid.  For example, Robert Martin, the executive director of the tax-exempt group, made $248,330 during the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

State officials have said they have no authority to set salaries for such non-profit organizations.

Hall was a guest on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

The new Courtesy Patrol contract will take effect on July 1.

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  • RHytonen

    Lts f pepe (especially seniors) have old unreliable cars thee days, and if course those that poor (ie retired) also can't afford cellphones (esp.unemployed.)

    People will literally be dying out there at certain times of year without the Courtesy Patrol. It's needed 24/7
    Our 1984 minivan snapped a camshaft in the daytime five years ago about 15 miles from home out on rt50, and we were VERY grateful for them! No cellphone (I was 63.)

    And today the roads are WAY harder on older -and newer- cars, thanks to the damn frackers and their many THOUSANDS of heavy trucks the side roads were NEVER intended for! Everyone I know is complaining about FREQUENT suspension repairs. We have essentially quit driving because of that.

  • DWL

    Has anyone investigated the relationship between the democrats, cousin Earl Ray, Mattox and others in the states' "executive branch", current or past? Look under the table to start with.

  • Mr.P

    There's crooks in Charleston just like there is in father always did say the biggest crooks there are is politicians and law enforcement and I have to believe he was right.

  • Mr.P

    The Courtesy Patrol does way more than the D.O.H officials do in Charleston,quit lining your pockets and start fixing the roads through out the state instead of half as*#ing them

  • mikeyd

    THEY ALSO RUN BURNING ROCK IN RAL CO beaver land and the ccc got grants and your tax dollars to do this they are so crooked duba and martin need put in jail

  • mikeyd

    they hide behind the 501c3 from the irs it is so crooked the state tax dept needs to step in and put all these crooks in JAIL

  • John

    Just what part of overseeing that job justifies the outrageous annual salary of $248,330 per year?
    This job sounds like most major charities, the most of the money goes into salaries. State officials say they have no control over salaries, well its taxpayers money, and if they can appropriate the funding then they should have some control over how much of it goes into salaries. Typical government boondoggle.

    • ViennaGuy

      I agree; that's a ridiculous salary to run a non-profit.

      The non-profit will probably say that they have to pay that much to attract "qualified leaders," but I think it's hogwash.

      • Fred

        501(c)3 organizations have become so widespread they are starting to undermine the tax base of the communities in which they operate. The majority of these 'non-profits' have little or nothing to show to prove their effectiveness and most are fraught with high administrative costs and salaries, executive perks, and embezzlement. In the meantime they funnel tax revenues away from legitimate projects while being tax-exempt themselves, causing the citizens to have to pay ever higher taxes to cover the most basic needs of their communities.