Chester grows Web presence

CHESTER – Chester City Council took a small step Monday toward putting the city’s best foot forward on the Internet.

Council approved the Chester-based tech company True North LLP as the administrator for the city’s new website. The current website – – owned and hosted by former City Councilman Dennis Murray on a private server, says it is offline for maintenance.

True North will develop the new website at no cost to the city, said company President Charles Bailey.

“I think it’s a good investment in the city of Chester,” he said. “We just feel it’s important to promote the city in a high-quality way.”

True North already has paid $114.64 to secure a new domain name for three years. The company also has established Facebook pages for “City of Chester” and “Chester City Parks.”

Chester Park Board member Anthony Bernardi told council at its last two meetings that he is concerned about the websites being down and what that says about the city.

“I believe a website and Facebook are vital for the promotion of the city,” he said.

Bailey said True North will develop the website, give secure login information to designated city personnel, offer training and provide site support and general maintenance. The city will retain full administrator access and maintain ownership of the domain, website and Facebook pages if True North is ever unable to fulfill its obligations, he said.

In other business, council:

Learned that the state is conducting its three-year audit of the city.

Discussed two Freedom of Information Act letters from the Frankovitch, Anetakis, Colantonio & Simon law firm in Weirton. The letters, dated July 11 and 16, ask the city custodian of records for personnel information for all city employees and officials, as well as information relating to Chester Municipal Building leases.

City Attorney April Manypenny Raines, responding to a query from Councilman Bradley Anderson, said such records requests are common.

Went into executive session to discuss personnel matters and litigation.

Scheduled a special meeting for 6 p.m. July 28 for the first reading of an ordinance creating the position of assistant police chief.

Learned that Patrolman Clint Schon’s last day with the Chester Police Department is July 29, and that probationary Patrolman Brent Bergman is graduating from the West Virginia State Police Academy on Aug. 15. Schon is taking a deputy position with the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department.

Witnessed the swearing-in of Police Chief Ken Thorn and Chester City Court Clerk Elaine Hyatt. Both were reappointed by council on July 7, along with Raines, City Court Judge Curtis Parkins and City Water Superintendent Jasen Havens.

Raines was sworn in on Friday, and Parkins was sworn in earlier on Monday.