Hancock County, West Virginia

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Hancock County is a county located in the U.S. state of West Virginia. As of 2000, the population was 32,667. Its county seat is New Cumberland[1]. Hancock County is the smallest county in the state, and the farthest north, being at the tip of the state's Northern Panhandle. It was created from Brooke County in 1848, and named for John Hancock, first signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Hancock County is part of the Weirton-Steubenville, WV-OH Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Contents

Law and Government

Hancock County is governed by a three member County Commission who each serve in rotating 6-year terms. The terms are designed such that one seat is up for election in even years. The County Commission annually chooses its own President. The Hancock County Commissioners in 2009 are President Michael Swartzmiller, Dan Greathouse, and Jeff Davis.

Additionally, Hancock County is part of the First Judicial Circuit of West Virginia which also includes Brooke and Ohio Counties. In West Virginia, Circuit Judges are elected in partisan elections to eight-year terms. The current judges of the First Judicial Circuit are the Hon. Martin J. Gaughan, the Hon. James Mazzone, the Hon. Arthur M. Recht, and the Hon. Ronald E. Wilson.

Hancock County is part of the First Family Court Circuit of West Virginia which also includes Brooke and Ohio Counties. In West Virginia, Family Court Judges were first elected to six-year terms beginning in 2002 and were elected to eight-year terms beginning in 2008. The current judges of the First Family Court Circuit are the Hon. Joyce Chernenko and the Hon. William Sinclair, both of whom were elected to eight-year terms in November 2008.

Magistrates are elected in partisan elections serving four-year terms. Vacancies occurring in unexpired terms can be filled by a respective Circuit Court Judge. Unlike Circuit Court judges or Family Court judges, magistrates are not required to be attorneys. Hancock County currently has three magistrates: Chief Magistrate Betty Bauer, William S. Hicks, and Michael Powell.

Other elected Officials are Sheriff Mike White, Circuit Clerk Brenda Jackson, County Clerk Eleanor Straight, and Assessor Joe Alongi, Prosecutor Attorney James Davis.

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