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City Clerk receives raise

December 7, 2012
By Anthony Gaynor - Staff Writer ( , The Inter-Mountain

Elkins City Clerk Sutton Stokes was appointed for two more years, made a full-time employee and given a pay raise by City Council Thursday.

Councilman Mark Scott, 3rd Ward, was the only dissenting vote against the pay raise, but still voted to appoint Stokes for two more years.

"I think Sutton has done a fine job as city clerk," he said during the meeting. "I am concerned moving him from part-time to full-time. Plus, we are giving him a raise and benefits."

Councilwoman Marylinn Cuonzo, 4th Ward, made a motion to increase Stokes' salary, which was seconded by Councilman Tom Hensil, 2nd Ward. The motion passed, increasing Stokes' base salary from $18 an hour to $19 an hour. Stokes will be making $39,520 with the pay raise and the move to full-time. In addition, Stokes will be eligible for health and retirement benefits.

"It looks as though the base amount has been increased," Scott said, "In addition, he is going to receive full benefits."

The pay raise and benefits also required the city to have a budget adjustment of $30,192.15, with $15,692.15 being moved from the city's "rainy day" fund and $14,500 being moved from the clerk's regular salary.

Scott questioned moving money from the "rainy day" fund. Hensil said when the city crafted this year's budget money was placed into the fund. City Treasurer Lisa Daniels-Smith explained the fund to council members.

"The money came from capital outlay the administrative officers built into their budgets," she said. "All capital outlay was moved into the rainy day fund. It is not taking money from capital reserve."

Scott was the only council member to vote against the raise.

The next item on council's agenda was to appoint Stokes to a new two-year term. City code states the city must appoint a clerk during the first meeting in December of every even year. Councilman Jim Bibey moved to appoint Stokes to the term in a full-time position. Councilman Bob Woolwine, 1st Ward, seconded the motion that passed unanimously.

Elkins Mayor Duke Talbott said the recommendation to move the clerk into a full-time position was made by the Personnel Committee and the pay rate was recommended by the Finance Committee.

"It is important to note that the city clerk was a full-time position for several years," Councilwoman Nanci Bross-Fregonara said.

Talbott said there will be additional job duties added to the clerk's job description. He said the personnel committee will discuss the additional job duties during their January meeting.

All nine council members present during the meeting voted for the measure. Scott, who is a member of the personnel committee, said after the meeting that the committee recommended moving the position to full-time and that is why he supported the measure during council.

City Council moved into executive session twice during the meeting. The first was for an agenda item titled, "Legal matter regarding pension plans." Woolwine made the motion to move the meeting behind closed doors and Councilman Carman Metheny, 3rd Ward, seconded the motion. Council was in executive session for approximately a half hour, When they returned Talbott announced no decisions were made.

The second executive session was for "Attorney consultation regarding city elections." Metheny made the motion to enter into private session and it was seconded by Woolwine. After about 10 minutes, First Ward Councilman Charles Kinnison returned to council chambers and said, "I voluntarily left."

A few minutes later, Stokes, who was invited into the private session, came to chambers and asked Kinnison to return to the executive session. After approximately 15 minutes, council returned to open session and Talbott announced no decisions were made.

Councilman Van Broughton, 2nd Ward, did not attend Thursday's meeting.



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