Council opts for longer terms; no date changes for elections

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Morgantown City Council is moving forward with a potential changes to future city council terms.

During Council’s regular meeting Tuesday, council unanimously opted to move forward with a proposal to extend council member terms to four years and stagger those terms.

“It’s something that has been a long time coming,” said longtime Morgantown City Counselor Jenny Selin. “And is important for our area so that we are not kind of the outliers on how we look at our council and our policy makers and having some sort of continuity,” she said.

Currently all seven seats on council are up for election every two years.

Councilors described several benefits in having the extended and staggered terms, with time to get more accomplished being the main reason. There were also thoughts by members that the new terms would allow for some consistency in council chambers.

“It is the standard operating procedure for all of the larger cities in West Virginia,” said Selin. “And it’s considered standard enough that it’s helpful for recruitment for managers and staff members,” she said.

The second proposal, involved the moving of City Council elections from odd-numbered years in April to November of even-numbered of years, coinciding with state and federal elections.

Every member of Council except for Mayor Ron Dulaney vehemetly spoke against moving that proposal forward. Members of Council who spoke against the proposal, stated the desire to keep Morgantown votes on a Morgantown ballot as one of their priorities.

“It’s important that we not muddle the idea of city activities, city concerns with the other things that would be going on at the same time,” said Councilor Bill Kawecki.

Staff will now develop an ordinance detailing the charter changes to bring back to council and ultimately be placed on the ballot during the upcoming city election in April.

“Right at this moment I think this is very important, we’re seeing as we are making charter cahnges, that it’s important that we be able to put items like that on the agenda for the public to be able to vote up or down,” said Selin.