Parkersburg City Council announces committee appointments

Reed, Mercer and Kuhl named chairs

Parkersburg City Council President J.R. Carpenter reads the list of committee appointments during Tuesday’s council meeting at the Municipal Building. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

PARKERSBURG — City Council President J.R. Carpenter announced committee appointments during a brief council meeting Tuesday and said other committees could be formed in the near future.

Councilman John Reed will chair the Finance Committee, which considers budget amendments and other matters before they reach the full council, while Councilman Bob Mercer was named chairman of the Personnel Committee. Councilwoman Sharon Kuhl will serve as chairwoman of the Public Works Committee, the only one of the three major committees to which Carpenter appointed himself.

Carpenter said he made the decisions based on requests from council members and wanted to get the six first-time council members as much experience as he could.

“I was on every committee to start with, and as people started giving me what they wanted, I had to bump me,” he said. “I’m still going to be at every meeting.”

The longest-serving council member, Mike Reynolds, will join Reed on Finance, along with Kuhl, Mercer and Councilman Zach Stanley as vice chairman.

Reed said he requested the Finance chair because that was a role he filled when he served a term on council in the early ’80s. However, the job has changed somewhat as the council vice president, Reynolds, oversees the budget hearings, rather than the Finance chairman.

“I look at the committees as work groups more than a legislative group,” where issues can be ironed out before legislation comes to council, Reed said.

Mercer said he was interested in both Personnel and Finance.

“I want to be involved in everything that happens with our employees,” he said. “They don’t get very much recognition at all.

“We have some of the finest police officers and firefighters in the country,” added Mercer, a Wood County 911 dispatcher.

Councilman Dave McCrady will be the vice chairman of Personnel, with Stanley, Councilman Eric Barber and Councilman Jeff Fox rounding out the committee.

Kuhl said she was honored Carpenter picked her to chair Public Works.

“Let’s face it, our city’s public works,” she said.

Fox will be the Public Works vice chairman. Barber, McCrady and Carpenter also are on the committee.

Reynolds will continue to serve as chairman of the Urban Renewal Authority, while Fox was named vice chairman.

Carpenter said council members have discussed forming at least two other committees — one to specifically consider code enforcement and ways to assist that department and strengthen its enforcement capabilities and the other to review how the city’s operations comply with the municipal charter.

“It’s more of a self-review,” he said, adding that potential charter amendments could also be considered by that group.

Other than approving the minutes of the last two meetings, council had only one agenda item on which to vote: the appointment of former Councilman Roger Brown to the Board of Zoning Appeals. It was approved 9-0.

Kuhl praised Mayor Tom Joyce and Public Works Director Everett Shears for their quick response to concerns from residents she reported as snow fell Thursday afternoon into Friday morning.

“Those streets were salted within the hour,” she said.

During his executive message, Joyce thanked United Bank for sponsoring a grant application for Recovery Point Parkersburg that resulted in an award of $650,000 to help fund renovations to turn the former National Guard Armory on Emerson Avenue into an 80-bed recovery facility and detox center.

“That’s big, for those folks and our community,” he said.