Alerts
By: Sutton StokesDecember 2, 2022

Council to Fill Third Ward Vacancy

City Councilor Clint Higgins (Third Ward) has resigned. Applications will be accepted until December 23 from Third Ward residents interested in being appointed to fill his seat until the 2023 election.

How Council Fills Vacant Seats

The city charter stipulates that, when a council seat becomes vacant,  it “shall be filled by appointment of a qualified person by council.” The charter further states that, in addition to being qualified to vote in Elkins, “councilors shall reside in the ward to be represented at the time of nomination and throughout the term of office.” Only voting-age persons who are qualified to vote in Third Ward are, therefore, eligible to apply for this position.

A protocol adopted by council in 2016 spells out the process of filling a vacancy in more detail. As required by this protocol, council has adopted a resolution officially announcing the vacancy, establishing an application period and deadline, and directing how applications may be submitted.

The resolution directs interested candidates to submit resumes in person/by mail to the Elkins City Clerk, 401 Davis Avenue, or electronically to jsutton@cityofelkinswv.com, no later than 12:30 p.m. on December 23. Qualified applications will be reviewed by the mayor and council, and interviews will be scheduled.

Interviews are performed by council and the mayor and consist of a standardized set of questions. Answers are scored by all elected officials present, and an average score is calculated.

The interview step is followed by a meeting at which council deliberates toward its top candidate. Once this candidate’s continued interest has been verified, he or she will be scheduled for appointment at the next council meeting.

Persons interested in applying are encouraged to attend council meetings, on first and third Thursdays, and to learn as much as possible about the structure of the Elkins government, which is unusual.

What Council Members Do

Elkins is chartered as a weak-mayor/strong-council system. Under this arrangement, Elkins mayors have limited authority. Councilors have no individual authority, but, acting as a 10-person body, the Elkins council exercises virtually all executive and corporate authority over the City of Elkins.

Through majority votes by a quorum of its members, council passes laws, adopts rules, and sets policy and strategic goals. Council is responsible for adopting the annual budget and monitoring the fiscal condition of the city; councilors can be held individually liable if budgets are overspent.

Five administrative officers report to council (the city clerk, the city treasurer, the fire chief, the operations manager, and the police chief). These officers are responsible for day-to-day operating and administrative decisions for their departments.

Elkins councilors are paid $7,200 a year and can enroll in the West Virginia Public Employees Retirement System. Alternatively, they may forego salary and participation in the retirement system and instead join the city’s PEIA health-insurance plan. No other benefits are available to council members.

Read more about what city councilors do: www.cityofelkinswv.com/government/city-clerk/elections/what-city-councilors-do.

Find what ward you’re in: www.bit.ly/elkins-ward-finder

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