Weirton charter changes advance

WEIRTON — Weirton Council is moving forward with a series of proposed changes to the city charter, approving votes on the first reading of 11 ordinances during its meeting Monday.

A public hearing on the proposed charter changes will be held at 6 p.m., March 20, with the second reading at council’s next regular meeting. If any citizens object to any of the proposals, those proposals will then be placed on the ballot for the city’s general election.

The titles of the ordinances for the charter changes, and the votes Monday include:

• Amending the position of treasurer and auditor throughout the City of Weirton Charter to read City Financial Director a permanent and full-time position, 7-0

• Amending the City of Weirton Charter by eliminating the position of city physician from the charter, 7-0

• Amending the City of Weirton Charter by eliminating the position of recreation director from the charter, 7-0

• Amending Article III, Section 2(c) of the City of Weirton Charter relating to the removal of appointed officers, 5-2

• Amending the City of Weirton Charter by eliminating Article III, Section 3(a) Qualifications and requirements for mayor and councilman being a resident of Weirton for at least five years prior to an election, 7-0

• Amending the City of Weirton Charter by eliminating Article III, Section 3(d) Qualifications and requirements requiring mayor and councilmen to have paid taxes on at least $500 worth of real or personal property for the year preceding his election to office, 7-0

• Amending the City of Weirton Charter Article III, Section 3(f) Qualifications and requirements to include appointed or elected office in the State of West Virginia, 6-1

• Amending the City of Weirton Charter Article III, Section 3(g) Qualifications and requirements from missing council meetings for a period of six months to missing regular monthly council meetings six times within the city’s fiscal year, 7-0

• Amending the City of Weirton Charter Article VII, Officers and Employees Section 1(f) City Manager relating to contracts, 7-0

• Amending the City of Weirton Charter Article VII Officers and Employees Section 1(d) to read the city clerk shall work the hours of duty determined by the city manager, 7-0

• Amending the City of Weirton Charter Article VIII, Elections relating to the conduct of municipal elections, 7-0

During the citizen’s comments portion of Monday’s meeting, Ed Bowman, former mayor and state senator, asked for clarification on several of the proposals.

“It really has a lot to be desired as far as the intent,” Bowman said, noting he also was concerned about the amount of time available for citizens to comment prior to the final vote.

Originally, the public hearing was to be held immediately before council’s April regular meeting.

Ward 4 Councilman George Ash, who sponsored all of the ordinances, explained the proposals to eliminate the positions were because those jobs either no longer exist or operate under the direction of an autonomous board.

The changes to requirements for those seeking office were for the city to be in line with state law, while the proposal to realign the election schedule is proposed as a way to save the city money, Ash said.

(Howell can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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