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Cecil, Citizens Deserve Clarity

By Staff | Jan 10, 2018

We, like our readers, have diligently followed the happenings of New Martinsville City Council. Specifically, we have been paying attention to New Martinsville Police Chief Tim Cecil’s request for a pay raise.

Chief Cecil has been the face of New Martinsville for years now. He has a connection with residents. He is transparent, yet visible.

We understand New Martinsville, like many other small area municipalities, has to watch every penny. However, we find ourselves sympathizing with Cecil’s request.

To recap the past month’s events, Cecil was told at December’s council meeting that council would be in favor of increasing his salary by $10,000, though Cecil had asked for a $20,000 raise.

A few weeks later, at a New Martinsville Finance Committee meeting, the committee discussed Cecil’s requested raise, among other city finance matters.

The meeting concluded without its chairperson, Kathryn Goddard, who had become upset at the lack of agreement among committee members, and left. Councilman Steve Pallisco, who is not a committee member but sat in on the meeting and offered discussion, left as well.

After Goddard and Pallisco left, Chief Cecil expressed frustration. He noted that council had previously said it would be in favor of a $10,000 raise.

Cecil said he is a 24/7 chief but hinted that if he did not receive the raise he needed to support his family, he would no longer put in the extra, unpaid hours that he usually does.

The two remaining committee members, Iris Isaacs and Joel Potts, then ultimately agreed upon a recommendation of a $5,000 salary increase for Cecil and the other two elected department heads – city recorder and street commissioner.

At last week’s council meeting, council then voted on this recommendation from Isaacs and Potts. Goddard and Pallisco were not present at this council meeting.

After council voted in favor of the proposed salary increases, a resident audience member inquired as to why Cecil wasn’t given more.

Mayor Steve Bohrer explained the city works within its budget, and that is the reason. He also refused to entertain any further questions, as the matter had already passed.

We understand disagreements and debates occur. But why was Cecil told one week that council favored an increase of $10,000 for him, only then to be told at a follow-up meeting that this wasn’t feasible?

Furthermore, though Goddard was not required to be present for the finance committee to come to a recommendation, shouldn’t she, as chairperson, have been present?

Why should a resident, who wants to ask about city finances, be told the matter is not up for discussion?

We know council members face tough decisions. We only want the council to work together. Surely residents can have their questions answered.

Surely each council member can have a chance to give his or her say, and surely there can be compromises made.

One thing council must not compromise on is police protection. Surely Chief Cecil can somehow receive adequate compensation for his extra work and long hours. His presence is too great of an asset to our community that we cannot afford to lose.