CHARLESTON, W.Va. –
The West Virginia Department of Homeland Security celebrated several of
its key contributors, present and past, to mark International Women's
Day on Tuesday.
Deputy Chief of Staff Ann Urling from Gov. Jim Justice's office and DHS
Deputy General Counsel Morgan Switzer helped lead the State Capitol
ceremony, where the honorees were presented with certificates of
International Women’s Day is a global holiday commemorating the
cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of women. Homeland
Security Secretary Jeff Sandy asked DHS component agencies to nominate
“The women of the Department of Homeland Security have a proud history
of protecting West Virginia from threats to our way of life,” said
Sandy. “Every day, they do what is right for our citizens with honor,
integrity, and respect. It's truly an honor to be present with these
Tuesday's ceremony also recognized Executive Assistant to the Chief of Staff Sherri
Foreman from Justice's office for her support of the department over
the years. Urling was named an honorary member of Homeland Security, and
presented with a ceremonial badge.
The component agencies selected the following individuals for recognition:
Division of Administrative Services: Kimberly Potters
Kimberly Potters stepped up in December 2021 when a ransomware attack
targeted the timekeeping and payroll system for West Virginia state
government. Potters supervises the payroll unit at DAS, which handles
such duties for more than 4,260 employees throughout Homeland Security.
When the cyber attack locked up the state’s payroll processing system,
Potters was instrumental in establishing a contingency plan for DAS and
putting together a team to ensure that everyone would receive a
Potters provided leadership, dedication and deep knowledge of payroll
procedures, having begun her career with the former regional jail system
in 1999 before joining DAS when it was created in 2018. DAS continued
to use the resulting contingency plan until the regular processing
system was restored. As part of this plan, Potters and her team entered
more than 13,000 transactions into the WVOASIS system. Over the three
pay periods affected by the ransomware attack, DAS had to cut only 29
paper checks due to timesheet errors.
Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation: Sylvia Haney
A key mission of DCR is helping offenders become lawful and productive
members of society upon their return to their communities. Agency
leaders credit Sylvia Haney with greatly improving the prospects of
their success through Correctional Industries.
Correctional Industries participants gain work experience and training
by producing an array of goods. Haney helped turn Correctional
Industries around after a 2002 legislative audit raised numerous issues.
Haney worked long hours for about four months to remedy financial
reporting issues flagged by auditors. She then was instrumental in
starting up Correctional Industries operations at such facilities as
Denmar and Saint Marys. She has also lent the skills she developed
toward creating Corrections’ inmate trust fund accounting system and
developing the parameters for inmate medical, food services and
Division of Emergency Management: Vicki Chandler
Vicki Chandler is a 39-year veteran of state government public service
and has devoted 35 of those years to Emergency Management. Over the
decades she has assisted with numerous sections and programs, including
Planning, Operations, Recovery, Flood Warning and the State
Interoperable Radio Network. She currently serves as the administrative
assistant to Director G.E. McCabe.
Division of Emergency Management: Marilyn Lynch
Marilyn Lynch joined what is now Emergency Management at a challenging
time: the 2014 water contamination crisis caused by an Elk River
chemical spill. Lynch helped state emergency responders keep in touch
with community leaders and businesses throughout the affected area to
ensure a supply of safe bottled and bulk water.
Lynch has since held key roles in the wake of multiple floods, including
the catastrophic flooding in June 2016. She worked closely with the
Federal Emergency Management Agency after that deadly disaster as the
appointed Individual Assistance officer, and aided preliminary damage
assessment teams in later events. She continues to support West
Virginia’s COVID-19 response, helping communities and other eligible
entities apply for reimbursement funding.
Office of the State Fire Marshal: Carole Nolte
West Virginia’s first female Deputy State Fire Marshal, Nolte served the
critical agency role of Public Education director. For years, Nolte
crisscrossed the state to provide fire and life safety education to
countless school children as well as fire departments, businesses and
the general public. As part of this role, Nolte developed and delivered
train-the-trainer fire and life safety programs to further this SFM
mission. She also created and taught the first statewide safety and
education class focused specifically on people with disabilities,
working with the West Virginia Developmental Disabilities Council and
Statewide Independent Living Council.
Nolte assisted the West Virginia Legislature when it proposed and passed
the 2009 Reduced Cigarette Ignition Propensity Standard and Firefighter
Protection Act. She then ran the resulting SFM program. Nolte also
helped modernize the state’s participation in the National Fire Incident
Reporting System, providing training and oversight to move West
Virginia’s 448 fire departments from paper to electronic reporting. She
retired in November 2011 after 14 years with the SFM.
West Virginia Fusion Center: Kathryn Wolfe
Kathryn Wolfe aids an integral program at the West Virginia Fusion
Center by planning the quarterly meetings and annual training
conferences of its Fusion Liaison Officers, who help carry out the “See
Something, Say Something” mission. Wolfe has also assisted in the
expansion and reorganization of the Fusion Center’s headquarters as the
agency’s administrative assistant.
Wolfe joined the Fusion Center in 2020, moving from the Office of the
State Fire Marshal where she had received an Outstanding Employee Award
Parole Board: Peggy Pope
Peggy Pope helped champion multiple reforms of West Virginia’s parole
process following her appointment by Gov. Bob Wise in 2001. During her
tenure, the Parole Board worked with national experts to develop
evidence- and research-based standards for release consideration. Pope
also helped the board implement numerous criminal justice changes,
including the sweeping Justice Reinvestment Act of 2013.
An inaugural graduate of Marshall University’s Criminal Justice program
in 1976, Pope brought to this position more than two decades of
experience in the magistrate court and circuit clerk systems. She was
re-appointed to the board by Gov. Joe Manchin and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin,
with the board growing from five to nine members. Pope retired from the
board in August 2019 after 18 years of service. Gov. Jim Justice has
since appointed her to the West Virginia Lottery Commission.
Division of Protective Services (Capitol Police): Margaret Cash
Margaret Cash was quickly identified as a standout employee when she
began working at the Capitol Complex as a rover for a campus security
contractor. When Protective Service established its Command Center in
2000, she was hired as a tele-communicator the following year. By 2007,
she was offered the position of Command Center Supervisor and in 2010
became the agency’s Executive Secretary.
Cash has proved a dedicated and diligent member of the Capitol Police
team throughout her tenure. In addition to her current position’s
regular duties, Cash tracks contractor projects on campus and the
related background requirements while maintaining a schedule of all
Capitol Complex activities.
West Virginia State Police: Deborah Beckner
For more than half a century, Communications Coordinator Deborah Beckner
has served the people of West Virginia through its State Police. She
began with the department as a headquarters teletype operator in 1969.
Also serving as a relief radio dispatcher in that initial position, she
furthered that role when she became a Police Tele-communicator
Supervisor in 1975.
Beckner was named communications coordinator in 1985, helping to oversee
the continuing modernization of State Police communications. During her
tenure, West Virginia developed and continues to improve upon the State
Interoperable Radio Network (SIRN). Beckner moved from full- to
part-time in this supervisory role in 2019.
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Update: Employees of DHS' Office
of the Secretary were also honored at the ceremony. Executive Secretary Stephanie Tiller received
Certificates of Commendation on behalf of herself, Lori McCoy, Sarah
Daugherty, and Misty Adkins.