Charter Amendments on November Ballot

Updated 3 years ago by Brian Chambers, Director of Communications City of Huntington

Voters who live in the corporate limits of the City of Huntington in Cabell and Wayne counties will see four proposed Charter amendments on their General Election ballot when they go to the polls on Nov. 4.

Mayor Steve Williams and Huntington City Council proposed in July that the amendments be submitted to the voters in the General Election. Huntington City Council unanimously approved placing all four on the ballot on Aug. 12.

Williams argues that the City Charter was adopted in 1985 and that the four provisions reflect government operations at that time. The amendments take into account technology advancements and add clarity and flexibility to the Charter. If approved, the amendments will result in more efficient operations, Williams said. 

The following are the proposed charter amendments in the same order as they will appear on the General Election ballot. Those who favor adopting a Charter amendment will vote “Yes” on each amendment.

 

“Shall the Charter be amended to amend Section 9.12 of the official Charter of the City of Huntington as it relates to personnel powers and duties of the mayor to extend temporary appointments from 60 days to 120 days?”

EXPLANATION: This amendment would give city leaders more flexibility in the amount of time it takes them to fill vacant positions. The change was suggested after Williams was forced to name interim Police Chief Jim Johnson as the city’s police chief in June to avoid violating the Charter. Furthermore, if the city desires to conduct national searches to attract the best possible candidates to fill vacant positions, as evidenced by the most recent police chief search, the process can often take more than 60 days.

 

“Shall the Charter be amended to amend Article 7 of the official Charter of the City of Huntington as it relates to the qualifications for the Director of Public Works position wherein the requirement of licensed professional engineer is eliminated?”

EXPLANATION: This amendment gives the city more flexibility in its hiring practices for the Public Works Director position. The amendment would strike the word “shall” and add the word “may” when referring to being a licensed engineer as a qualification for the position. That means the Public Works Director would not have to have an engineering license, but the city could still hire someone that did. Many cities today hire professional firms when they need engineering services and utilize their public works administrators to oversee the projects. The requirement also has resulted in extended vacancies in the Public Works Director’s position in recent years. 

 

“Shall the Charter be amended to amend Section 14.11 of the official Charter of the City of Huntington as it relates to the central garage and motor pool so a system is in place for rules and regulations on all vehicles and equipment?”

EXPLANATION: This amendment gives the city more flexibility to meet this provision of the Charter. As it is currently written, every city vehicle has to be parked at the city garage when not in use. That provision has never been enforced by any administration since the Charter was written because the city garage isn’t large enough to hold all of the city’s vehicles. The amendment would allow the city to use existing technology to track location, use and mileage.

 

“Shall the Charter be amended to amend Section 9.1 and Section 9.2 of the official Charter of the City of Huntington as it relates to changing only the job title of Director of Administration and Finance to the title ‘City Manager?’”

EXPLANATION: This change in job title more clearly reflects the duties of the position. While the mayor acts as the CEO, he or she relies on the director of administration and finance to oversee the day-to-day operations of city government. The title of “city manager” better reflects that role. City officials also stress that the amendment is not a change in the form of government, nor does it change duties of the director of administration and finance. 

 

Voting Reminders

Early Voting: Early voting in Cabell and Wayne counties will run Oct. 22 through Nov. 1, except on Sundays. 

* In Cabell County, early voting will be conducted in the Cabell County Clerk’s Office at the courthouse from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. 

* In Wayne County, early voting will be conducted in the main hallway on the first floor of the courthouse from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday.

Election Day: Polls in West Virginia open at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 4, and close at 7:30 p.m.

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