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Weirton moves forward with post

Existing position within administration given ‘assistant city manager’ title

WEIRTON — By a 6-1 vote, Weirton Council, during a special meeting Thursday, approved the final reading of an ordinance to move forward with the position of assistant city manager.

Ward 5 Councilwoman Flora Perrone cast the lone dissenting vote on the ordinance “establishing new minimum and maximum salary levels of specific non-union municipal employees within specific departments of the City of Weirton general fund and adding/eliminating specific positions.”

Several members of council offered comments Thursday, noting the ordinance would take an existing position within the city administration, add new responsibilities and change its title.

“There’s a misconception it’s a completely new position,” Ward 3 Councilman Fred Marsh said, explaining constituents had approached him in his business to discuss the issue.

The result would be an increase in pay of $12,000, with a reported pay range under the ordinance of between $50,000 and $58,000.

Ward 7 Councilman Terry Weigel noted he, too, had been contacted by residents on the matter.

“I had multiple phone calls on the same subject and multiple confusions,” Weigel said. “It is taking an old position and adding new responsibilities.”

Weigel, though, did note he feels there remain some vacant positions which should be filled first.

Ward 2 Councilman Mike Adams expressed the same response from residents in his ward.

Ward 1 Councilman Tim Connell explained another aspect of the job, noting it will be in place to provide some consistency when the city manager is not available or if the job becomes vacant. However, that doesn’t mean the person serving as assistant city manager will necessarily become the next city manager.

“They think it’s an automatic walk-in,” Connell said, noting the city manager job will remain appointed by the mayor, with council approval.

Ward 4 Councilman George Ash, meanwhile, explained there previously had been an assistant city manager position within the municipality, but it had been thought unnecessary and eliminated.

By re-establishing the post, the city is providing consistency and a steady flow of direction, Ash said.

“Somebody will be here at all times,” he explained, adding he feels City Manager Joe DiBartolomeo would not have requested the position if it wasn’t needed. “A retired general does not ask for things he doesn’t need.”

In other business, council unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance “implementing the sale of alcoholic beverages by certain Alcohol Beverage Control Administration Class A license holders,” beginning at 10 a.m. on Sundays in the city.

DiBartolomeo explained the city had included the proposal as part of a Home Rule application earlier this year. It was approved by the state, he said, and the city is taking steps to finalize its implementation.

“We’re competing against Ohio and Pennsylvania,” he noted.

Council also passed a resolution adopting Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 11th Edition, with modifications for a small assembly and a format for all council meeting agendas. This format will guide council in how to operate their meetings in the future.

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

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