What the Mayor Does
This page provides a general overview of the authority and responsibilities of an Elkins mayor. Scroll down for information about what mayors can and can’t do, their term of office, and salary.
For more detail, consult the city charter and code.
Term, Authority, Salary & Benefits
The Elkins mayor appears on the ballot in all five city wards and is elected to four-year terms.
The mayor presides over council meetings but has no vote except in the event of a tie. Other duties include representing the city with outside organizations, attending ceremonial events, serving on various boards and commissions, and issuing proclamations.
Unlike in many cities, where mayors exercise robust executive authority, the Elkins mayor has almost no independent authority. All important decisions are ultimately council’s responsibility.
However, the city charter does stipulate that the Elkins mayor supervises the chief of the Elkins Police Department.
Additional information about the duties and authorities of the Elkins mayor may be found in the Elkins City Charter and Elkins City Code, or code of ordinances.
Elkins mayors cannot:
- Hire/fire department heads
- Direct city staff or resources
- Prepare the budget
- Exercise veto power
- $20,000 a year for performing their mayoral duties.
- Eligiblity for the full range of benefits offered to City of Elkins employees, including the city’s PEIA health-insurance plan and the West Virginia Public Employees Retirement System.
The Elkins mayor attends and chairs all meetings of the Elkins Common Council, which meets at least twice a month, typically for 1-2 hours at a time. The mayor receives information related to agenda items at least 24 hours prior to each council meeting and must understand this information thoroughly to run the meeting effectively. The mayor must also learn the details of council’s rules for meetings, including relevant parliamentary procedures, to ensure that meetings proceed in an organized and lawful manner.
The Elkins mayor does not sit on any council committees but generally attends most if not all committee meetings. Each of council’s five standing committees typically meets once a month. The number of committees may fluctuate.
In addition to council committees, a great deal of city business and other matters of interest to the people of Elkins are managed by various boards and commissions. The mayor is automatically the chair and a voting member of the Elkins Sanitary Board and the Elkins Water Board and a voting member of the Elkins Planning Commission.
External Board Relationships
The mayor is often invited to join and attend the meetings of boards and commissions external to the city government. These include the boards of the Randolph County Development Authority, the Randolph County Chamber of Commerce, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the West Virginia Municipal League.
The mayor’s office may receive many citizen requests and complaints. However, because of the administrative structure implemented by council, mayors are limited in their ability to intervene directly. Often, citizens making requests and complaints must simply be referred to the appropriate staff member.
The Elkins mayor is supported by the executive secretary, who also provides administrative support services to the city clerk. This position is supervised by the city clerk and is not appointed by the mayor.
Elkins mayors are assisted by the city clerk, who manages the legislative process and related recordkeeping, provides research and project-management services, and supports council’s compliance with the Open Governmental Meetings Act. (Note: Elected officials are accountable for OGMA violations, so it is imperative that mayors familiarize themselves with the requirements of this law.)
Serving in the capacity of the city government’s lawyer, the city attorney also works closely with and advises the mayor in the exercise of that office’s official powers.
Other staff members are available, through coordination with the relevant administrative officer, to assist with tasks such as official announcements and communications and interpretation of city adopted codes, help manage council meetings, and provide job or department specific information.
Like all public officials in West Virginia, Elkins mayors are bound by the requirements of the Ethics Act.