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New Martinsville Council Approives Pay Raises

By Rick Loy - Staff Writer | Feb 11, 2021

New Martinsville City Coucil met in regular session on February 1, 2021, at New Martinsville City Hall All council members were present. Councilman Joel Potts introduced Pastor Bruce Taylor to deliver the invocation. Potts then led in the Pledge of Allegiance. Mayor Sandy Hunt called the meeting to order.

The first item on the agenda was the approval of the January 2021 Council meetings minutes which was unanimously approved by council.

Council also unanimously approved the regular city invoices and the financial reports.

Wesley Morgan, Street Department employee approached council requesting raises for all street workers. Councilwoman Iris Isaacs told Morgan that his department is higher paid then surrounding cities. Isaacs said that they would have to bring the request to their department head and then bring it in front of council for further discussions.

Council voted unanimously to approve Richard Brookover, Nina Winters, Dwight Law, William Glover, and Bryan Ensinger as members of the city Planning Commission.

Bev Gibb, Parks and Recreation Director requested $80,000 to be allocated towards the Lewis Wetzel Pool sewer line replacement and locker room renovations. J & T Paving was contracted to complete the job for $120,000. Gibb said the Parks & Rec will pay $40,000 toward the project. Councilwoman Isaacs made a motion to take $30,000 from the General Fund and $50,000 from the Hydro Fund to pay for the job. The motion was seconded and unanimouly approved.

Isaacs made a motion to increase the salary of the Chief of Police, City Recorder, and Street Commissioner for the budget year of 2022-2023 to $65,000. Council unanimously approved the motion.

Motion was also made by Councilwoman Isaacs to return $2,100.00 back to the Wetzel County Commission that had been allocated for animal control. Council voted unanimously to approve.

Councilman Jeff Gieseke provided an update that the Electric Department will be conducting interviews for the Lineman position this week. Gieseke also reported that the Hydro Plant is experiencing crane issues again.

Ron Brill, Councilman reported on the Street Department that they will be conducting interviews next week for a mechanics position.

Councilman Joe Smith made the motion for approval to adopt the West Virginia Building Code. Council gave approval for the request.

Councilman Joel Potts motioned for the approval to hire Levi smith and Shane Eads for the full-time patrolman positions. The motion was nanimously approved by council.

Steve Pallisco, Councilman reported they are advertising for bids for a new building to be constructed at the park by the downtown fire department Fire Department to store equipment out of the weather.

Mayor Sandy Hunt made a motion for adjournment and it was approved.

City Council Holds Public Hearing and a Special Meeting

The New Martinsville City Council held a public hearing, followed by a special session February 4, 2021 for Home Rule Ordinances. All council members were present. No one from the public was in attendance to voice their opinions or concerns.

In small municipalities, it is becoming increasingly difficult to hire and maintain full-time police officers due to budgetary constraints and competing careers. By expanding the police civil service provisions, the City would be able to consider provisional or part-time police officers to meet the needs of the New Martinsville Police Department for staffing issues.

The City of New Martinsville has the authority to enact an ordinance to modify the requirements of the West Virginia Code 8-14-16. The City under previous ordinance code could only hire part-time officers for a period no longer than three months, with no successive provisional appointments.

Common Council replaced that ordinance with the following:

The City shall have the authority to hire part-time or provisional non-civil service police officers for indefinite periods of time provided however, that the part-time or provisional police officers shall already be certified and trained through the West Virginia State Police Academy and is employed for no more than 1040 hours per calendar year.

Council replaced the previous West Virginia Code stating full-time paid police officers are not to be more than 40 years of age upon date of their application. Common Council raised the age up to not more than 45 years of age. This benefits the City and its residents by providing them with adequate protection.

The City of New Martinsville has the authority to exempt itself from the party affiliation requirement for its Police Civil Service Commission. Common Council of the City amended the ordinance and rejects the party affiliation requirement of the West Virginia Code.

City Council unanimously approved all the changes to the Home Rule Ordinances.