CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Kanawha County Commission President Lance Wheeler said it’s a good idea for West Virginia VOAD to bring in new leadership.

It was announced on Tuesday that executive director Jenny Gannaway was retiring from that position. In a statement released by the non-profit, it said Gannaway was stepping down to “prioritize quality time with her family.”

Lance Wheeler

“A change in leadership right now is a good idea with VOAD,” Wheeler said Wednesday.

The relationship between the commission and West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster has, for the most part, always been strong, according to Wheeler. He’s hoping with someone new at the helm, they’ll move past the allegations that are facing Gannaway and the organization and get back to having more close encounters with them to ultimately help the citizens who need it in the times of natural disasters.

“We hope that with this new leadership coming in, we’ll be able to have a healthy relationship liked we’ve had in the past,” said Wheeler. “We’ll be able to help the citizens because that’s what matters most.

During a meeting in December, the Kanawha County Commission voted to rescind $50,000 that had been going to VOAD over discrepancies about what exactly the money was going to be used for. Wheeler said he and fellow commissioners Kent Carper and Ben Salango were wise in their decision to hold on to the money.

“When we asked what that money was going to be used for, they did not have an answer,” said Wheeler. “We felt it was necessary in the eyes of transparency and taxpayer money to keep that money away from them.”

Also, VOAD’s former finance and operations manager Benjamin Cisco was sentenced last month to 41 months in prison for taking $900,000 from VOAD from March 2020 to September 2022. He was charged last spring with several counts of fraud and money laundering.

Commissioner Wheeler said he’s looking forward to working with VOAD and their new director. He believes their relationship can be mended and become stronger than before.

“At the end of the day we don’t care who is in leadership, as long as that community support is there,” he said.

VOAD said they are putting together a transition team right now to find their next executive director. It’s expected they will select someone by the end of the month.