WJ council appoints charter review commission


(Posted Feb. 18, 2016)

By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer

On Feb. 15, West Jefferson village council appointed seven individuals to the Charter Review Commission and put off ordering a new police cruiser.

The charter is the set of rules by which elected leaders govern the village. Every five years, a commission is appointed to review the charter and determine if any changes are needed.

Council President Steve Johnston said the group’s task includes checking wording and punctuation, referencing a case a few months ago in which a resident got out of a ticket due to a grammar error in the charter.

Mayor Ray Martin said he checked to make sure all seven appointees are registered voters in the village.

“I had long list to work on, and the first seven I asked agreed,” he said.

They are: former council member Steve Morris, Karl Frybarger who has served on the commission before, Richard King who ran for council, Mark Warner and Linda Hall who had each applied for vacant council seats, and community activists Justin Barnhart and Samantha Cahill.

In other business, council put off action on the purchase of a Ford Explorer SUV for the police department because council member Randy Otis was absent.

The topic came out of council’s police committee on a 2-1 vote because the necessary $38,000 for the purchase was not included in the 2016 budget.

“We don’t have full membership,” Johnston said. “If this issue ends up in a tie vote, it’s a dead issue.”

“We should have everyone here,” said Doug Eakins who chairs the police committee.

Jim King wanted to take up the issue right then, and Martin raised the question if the mayor had tie-breaking powers. He was advised he does not.

Council tabled the resolution and one to transfer money to the police fund for the purchase after learning that the bid is good until March 11. Council’s next meeting is March 7.

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