by Tony Rutherford HuntingtonNews.Net Reporter
Huntington Mayor Wolfe  Acknowledges Veto Speculation

HUNTINGTON, WV (HNN) – The clock tickets on whether Huntington Mayor Kim Wolfe will veto the modified no council approval spending limit ordinance.

Council passed the ordinance reducing the previous $15,000 limit to $7,500 following the purchase of one salt spreader after council denied approval to purchase two. One spreader purchased on an emergency basis came in at about $11,000.

Since that purchase, some council members have viewed the decision to buy one as disrespectful of council’s decision. Other members have viewed the decision within the Mayor’s power as the city’s chief executive.

After the finance committee at four discussions determined no need to make the reduction, the committee and its chair Steve Williams proposed leaving the limit at $15,000, but providing council members with notification within a week of purchases exceeding $7,500.

The compromise did not pass; instead, the spending authority reduction without council approval was reduced to $7,500.

Council members on both sides of the vote anticipate a veto.

As for Mayor Wolfe, he told HNN, “Yes, there is speculation that I will veto the spending ordinance. But I cannot confirm or deny as I have not spoken to all members of council at this time.”

The statement from Mayor Wolfe reflects an on-going issue that has been raised by a variety of council members --- lack of communication before releasing major decisions to the news media. That tiff stretches back to the news conference in which Mayor Wolfe announced the closing of City Hall on Fridays.

A few council members complained that they started receiving calls from constituents who had heard it on the news, yet the council representative had not been informed.

On Monday, Jan. 31, though, at least one additional council member confirmed a courtesy call from Mayor Wolfe discussing the veto speculation.

Incidentally, according to the City Charter, the Mayor or his representative must notify the city clerk of the veto in writing with his reason(s).

If the veto occurs, it would be on the agenda for the first council meeting in February. A two-thirds vote is necessary to override a veto.