Huntington Council Passes Highlawn Zoning, Clears Charter Votes for Second Reading

Updated 20 weeks ago
Mayor Steve Williams appointed Carlie McCoy as Honorary Mayor for the Day. Carlie, a rising senior at Spring Valley High School, attended the WV State Trooper Academy, the WV Governor’s Honors Academy and WV Girls State .
Mayor Steve Williams appointed Carlie McCoy as Honorary Mayor for the Day. Carlie, a rising senior at Spring Valley High School, attended the WV State Trooper Academy, the WV Governor’s Honors Academy and WV Girls State .

Huntington City Council's Monday night , July 28, agenda actually became overshadowed by the thorough debriefing and extension of thank you's concerning the extinguishing of the potential 'block burning' Morris Building roof blaze. Firefighters contained fire damage to the roof due to the structure's concrete construction methods.

Council approved without dissent or any dissent from the public the measure that rezones 14 parcels in the Highlawn District. They were once part of the Highlawn Baptist Church and have been purchased by St. Mary's Medical Center.

Tweaks to the council telecasting ordinance passed 8-1 (Thacker no; Simmons, Gilespie absent). The measure removes a "live" requirement under certain conditions such as an overflow audience.

The body passed financial and accounting tweaks too.

All of the proposed charter amendments cleared first reading. HNN will post the exact ordinances prior to the second reading and public comment.

City Attorney Scott McClure
City Attorney Scott McClure
File Photo

During Good and Welfare, Tom McCallister, as anticipated, challenged the lack of appointment of anyone to the director of administration and finance position.  Brandi Jacobs-Jones last day was April 30.

McCallister, who assisted in writing the 1985 charter, challenged that an appointee must be in place and that , if not, council must take action themselves to prevent violation of the charter.

Council Chairman Mark Bates relied upon an opinion from City Attorney Scott McClure, who stated , "there has not been an appointment."  He interpreted the position as one determined at the "will and pleasure of the Mayor."

McClure believes its the Mayor's decision, not a charter commandment on the position.

He told McCallister to "make your way to the courthouse," indicating that he thinks any judge would agree with  his reading of the charter.

The issue has not been ruled on previously by any court. One of the proposed charter amendments would enlarge the time frames for permanent appointments from 60 to 120 days.

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