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Thorough review of Weirton charter needed

One of the issues raised last week during the departure of Weirton’s former city manager was whether one member of city council was eligible to continue serving in his elected position.

Ward 2 Councilman Mike Adams also works as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Hancock County, a position he was named to earlier this year. Former city manager Joe DiBartolomeo said this position makes Adams ineligible, pointing to a clause in the city charter which prohibits the city’s mayor and council from holding another elected or appointed political position. Adams, however, said he was hired, not elected or appointed, and he can continue to serve the people of Weirton on city council. In addition, he says, that clause in the city charter has been declared unconstitutional through several rulings by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

If that is the case, one would have to wonder what else in Weirton’s charter is invalid or out-of-date. The City of Weirton was incorporated as a municipality in 1947, with the city charter finalized in 1950. Things change.

We know there have been some adjustments to the charter over the years, including 11 provisions amended during the city’s 2019 election.

Strangely enough, one of those amendments dealt precisely with the provision cited in this most recent dispute by adding state offices to the mix.

Another of those charter changes realigned the city’s election schedule, meaning Weirton’s mayor and council seats will next be up for grabs in 2024. That gives the city another three years to perform a thorough review of the charter to see what changes need to be made in order to remain in line with state and federal law.

We would recommend that process begins as soon as possible.

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