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City workers step closer to raises

November 14, 2012
By LINDA HARRIS - Staff writer ( , Weirton Daily Times

WEIRTON - City employees are just one reading away from receiving a pay raise.

Council, on Tuesday, heard the first reading of an ordinance giving city workers a 3 percent pay raise, retroactive to the start of the 2012-13 fiscal year.

The pay hike, recommended last week by the finance committee, was made possible by a $2.6 million cash carryover, even though all but about $250,000 had been built into the budget projects for the year.

The second and final reading will be in December.

In other matters, Ward 4 Councilman George Ash applauded the efforts of Public Works personnel to patch streets in his ward, telling Public Works Director John Brown that, "between you and (City Manager Valerie Means) and the rest of the crew, you did a lot that wouldn't have been done otherwise."

The city had planned to use roughly $130,000 in CDBG funding to pave streets in Ash's ward, but delays in securing the funding, coupled with the limited availability of the only contractor who bid for the project, forced them to put the full scope of the work off until spring.

Means, however, last month had promised city crews would do whatever they could in-house.

"Thank you for the pay raises," Brown told Ash and the other councilmen. "They're good for morale."

Brown said the department's new dump truck is ready for snow removal duties, while a new sanitation truck is to be delivered by the end of the month.

Ash also thanked Fire Chief Jerry Shumate for calling him recently to advise him of a fire in his ward, saying he's "the first chief who's ever called me, and I appreciate it."

Utilities Director A.D. "Butch" Mastrantoni said crews from James White Construction have begun working on Phase I of the sewage upgrades needed to comply with a federal consent decree surrounding discharge of fecal coliforms into the river.

Council passed on first reading a resolution authorizing city officials to contract for engineering services for the Safe Routes To School grant program.

Mayor George Kondik credited Ward 6 Councilman David Dalrymple with getting the grants approved, adding that it's "one of the first steps in quite a few to get this project done on a very, very tight schedule."

Also passed on first reading were resolutions retaining Teed & Associates, Charleston, for audit services; a letter of intent for a viable guaranteed energy savings performance contract; governor's Community Participation Program funds for the Events Center; aerial and ground ladder truck testing and certification, an annual event; placing liens on certain Elm Street properties to recover costs incurred in their demolition; switching to Highmark for health insurance for municipal employees; enrolling in HRA DirectPay coverage for city employees; establishing new dental coverage; revising the general fund budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year; and purchasing two thermal imaging cameras for the city fire department.

The city's fire department civil service code was amended to remove departmental regulations from the actual civil service code, something firefighters had long sought, with the second reading of an ordinance implementing the rule changes slated for December.

Council approved a contribution to the Brooke-Hancock Veteran's Memorial Park at the south end of town, and also heard a first reading of an ordinance installing a "no parking" sign across from 3216 Weir Ave.

City Council spent 40 minutes behind closed doors Tuesday discussing personnel matters.

Afterwards, City Solicitor Vince Gurrera said only that the executive session allowed council to discuss "certain positions throughout the city and what positions (council) needs to look at as far as changing job descriptions."

(Harris can be contacted at

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