What the Mayor Does
The purpose of this page is to provide insight into the job of an Elkins mayor. Read on for a sense of what Elkins mayors do, what responsibilities they have, and other important information about the job. (For more about the elected leadership of Elkins, click here.)
Elkins mayors appear on the ballot in all five city wards and are elected to two-year terms.
Unlike in many cities, where mayors exercise robust executive authority, Elkins mayors have almost no independent authority. All important decisions are ultimately council’s responsibility. Elkins mayors chair but may not vote in council meetings, except to break a tie.
Elkins mayors cannot:
- Hire/fire department heads
- Direct city staff or resources
- Prepare the budget
- Exercise veto power
The city’s organization chart may be viewed here.
General Job Duties
There is no official job description for the Elkins mayor. In the past, different mayors have focused on different aspects of the position, depending on their own skillsets and personalities. Ultimately, voters—whom Elkins mayors must face every two years—are the judge of a mayor’s performance.
Elkins mayors attend and chair all meetings of the Elkins Common Council, which meets at least twice a month, typically for 1-2 hours at a time. Mayors receive information related to agenda items at least 24 hours prior to each council meeting and are expected to review the information in preparation. Mayors 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.
Although mayors don’t serve on any council committees, many mayors choose to attend most if not all committee meetings as well. Each of council’s five standing committees typically meets once a month. Council currently has two ad hoc committees that also usually meet once per month.
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 of the Elkins Sanitary Board, which oversees the city’s sewer system and usually meets monthly, and a member of the Elkins Planning Commission, which has a highly variable meeting schedule.
Mayors are 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.
Mayors receive and respond to citizen requests and complaints. However, because of the administrative structure implemented by council, mayors are sometimes limited in their ability to intervene directly. Often, citizens making requests and complaints must simply be referred to the appropriate staff member.
Salary and Benefits
Elkins mayors are paid $20,000 a year and are eligible 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.
Elkins mayors are directly supported by an executive secretary. (This position is supervised by the city clerk and is not appointed by the mayor.) Elkins mayors are also 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 councilors familiarize themselves with the requirements of this law.) In her capacity as the city government’s lawyer, the city attorney also works closely with and advises they mayor regarding the exercise of his 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.
Additional information about the duties and authorities of Elkins mayors may be found in the Elkins City Charter and Elkins City Code, or code of ordinances, both of which may be found here.
Possible Charter Changes
Some of the above may change as a result of the charter-change process currently underway. No charter changes would take effect until April 2021 at the earliest. Learn more here.