FAYETTEVILLE — The winners of tomorrow’s election in Fayetteville will be winners in more ways than one after Thursday’s town council meeting.

Excluding Councilman Anthony Salvatore’s absence, council members unanimously approved the second reading of a significant pay hike for all elected officials.

Beginning with the July 5 meeting, a town council member will earn $433.34 per month as opposed to the present $20 rate. The mayor’s new monthly salary increases from $400 to $2,166.67, while the town recorder’s earnings multiply by nearly a factor of 10 — from $125 to $1,083.34.

Conspicuous during the vote was the absence of both public discussion and specificity regarding the old and new remuneration amounts.

As Mayor Jim Akers quickly emphasized to an inquiring Maura Kistler near the meeting’s conclusion, the increase applies to the new administration and that it would be illegal for council members to vote themselves a pay raise.

Earlier Thursday, Recorder Charlie Jones explained that the pay increase was the product of some research conducted by Town Superintendent Bill Lanham and Michael Griffith, a Charleston-based accountant. The two compared Fayetteville’s rates with those of other towns to devise the new figures.

“That’s what was presented to us. I didn’t say I want $1,000. Nobody did,” Jones said.

“This (public complaints) happened when we tried to give our municipal judge a pay raise. Oak Hill’s city judge gets a lot more than ours does. Some people would complain if they were going to give us 50 cents. I’ve never asked the town for anything. I buy my own paper and ink cartridges.”

Jones added Akers, for instance, was not offered benefits by the town, whereas Hinton offers such benefits to its mayor.



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In other business, council members:

-- Applauded as Delegates Dave Perry and John Pino, along with state Sen. Shirley Love, all D-Fayette, presented a Fayetteville police officer and a National Park Service ranger with a citation from the Legislature for their heroism in an incident that occurred last September on the New River Gorge Bridge.

On Sept. 10, police Sgt. David L. Kinzer and NPS ranger Randy Fisher subdued a man who was threatening to commit suicide by jumping from the 876-foot-high structure. They had earlier negotiated with him and allowed him to speak with his girlfriend on a cell phone. The pair subdued the man after he reached for the phone lying on the road.

That honor was coupled with a presentation by Steve Pilato, Gov. Joe Manchin’s regional representative, of a citation on behalf of the governor. “They (Kinzer and Fisher) will forever serve as inspiration to others,” Pilato read.

-- Were thrilled to hear the announcement by Perry that the town will be on the receiving end of several grants. The police department will receive $2,000 for equipment, while the fire department can expect $1,000. Construction projects will receive $6,000, and another $8,000 will go toward the completion of a long-discussed skate park.

A $200,000 grant for sidewalk repairs is under review by Manchin, Perry added.

-- Voted 4-0 to allow Police Chief Pat Tygrett to hire a full-time police officer from Mount Hope’s force to replace one of Tygrett’s officers who left to join the Oak Hill Police Department.

-- Listened as Akers applauded the work of the current administration at its final meeting before Tuesday’s election.

— E-mail: mhill@register-herald.com

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