It’s all about justification

To the Editor,

With the upcoming city elections just around the corner, I think citizens should be aware of several irregularities that some may not have picked up on. For me, it’s all about proper justification, which is necessary, to support and back any efforts of the mayor and council. An example was last summer where efforts were started to try and get our trash collectors health insurance, but the city said they didn’t have any money. So, a campaign was developed to solicit interest in raising our collection fee so health insurance could be provided.

Sometime around September a new city manager was appointed. A man that had top credentials and who served the city in years past. The salary for the city manager apparently wasn’t appropriate, so council voted to double his salary based on the fact he wouldn’t require health insurance, so in essence the city would save money. This seems a little odd since the city apparently didn’t have any extra money. Then everything took a strange twist.

Several months later the city manager, with his salary doubled, decided to adjust salaries for the mayor and council based on similar populations of Weirton compared to the cities of Wheeling and Fairmont. Not just a slight adjustment, but doubling to near tripling of salaries. This process is called “Quid Pro Quo.” A Latin term that means “Something for Something,” or simply, “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” The city manager later changed his mind reasoning that the city jobs were stressful, 24/7 — 365 days a year and therefore justified. That’s really flimsy justification. Now, less than six months into his new job, after handing out presents like Santa, he vanishes in his sleigh to the very same company that he left before coming to Weirton.

This leads to another justification issue. The administration applied for TIF funding for new development on Three Springs Drive. A convention center was also part of the package but later pulled from the plans. There was no justification to support spending over $10 million dollars, now probably closer to $20 million, for this convention center. A contract was entered into with Pompan Hospitality Global, Inc., for a sum totaling around $35,000 to conduct a proposal. The problem is the city can’t use their proposal or their recommendations in any application filing, Appendix 1, paragraph 5. So, who justified spending $35,000 of our tax dollars on a company whose recommendations couldn’t be used?

If you have proper justification, I don’t have a problem providing raises, but tripling salaries, while the citizens shoulder the burden of insurance is a little ridiculous. Spending money without justification on a proposal you can’t use is completely absurd. A city manager; now you see him, now you don’t. What just happened? Something with this administration just isn’t right! What else is going on?

Just something to ponder before the upcoming elections. Maybe some changes are in order.

Thomas Zielinsky