Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

September 13, 2013

Proposed change could ease residency requirements for officials

By CHARLES OWENS
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — City council is considering a proposed charter change, which, if approved, would ease the residency requirements for certain city officials.

The existing city charter states that both the city manager and the city clerk are required to live within the municipal limits of Princeton. Under the proposed charter change, the city clerk and city manager would only be required to live in Mercer County, and not the city limits.

“The purpose of it — of all of our employees now — the only two left that have to reside in the corporate limits is our city manager and city clerk,” Mayor Patricia “Pat” Wilson said. “We are just trying to make that a little bit outside of our city limits due to the problems of finding homes.”

Both City Manager Elke Doom and City Clerk Ken Clay are currently living in the city limits.

“Elke is renting a place right now, and she was looking at a place outside of the city limits, but it didn’t happen,” Wilson said. “We just thought we would look at it and give people that option in the future.”

Wilson said city charter changes are rare. The last time the charter was changed in Princeton was in 2008, and that amendment dealt with salaries.

A public meeting has been set for Tuesday, Oct. 15, at 7:30 p.m. to consider the proposed charter change. Any citizen who objects to the charter change may appear at that time, and file objections in writing to the proposed amendments.

If no objections are received, the amendments to the city charter would become effective on Oct. 30.

According to the proposed amendment, the changes would benefit the city and its citizens by allowing consideration of more candidates for those positions in the future.

In terms of the city manager, the proposed amendment changes states, “At the time of his appointment, he need not be a resident of the city or state, but during his tenure in office he shall reside within Mercer County.”

Wilson said she expects the proposed charter change to be passed.

“I don’t see any problem with it al all,” Wilson said.

— Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com