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Council will try to amend charter

Dec. 24, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- There's no way to avoid meeting on Christmas Eve this year, but Huntington City Council will try to make sure it doesn't happen again.

The council is forced to meet Monday evening, Dec. 24, because the City Charter requires the governing body to meet at 7:30 p.m. every second and fourth Monday of the month, except for legal holidays. The state code does not define Christmas Eve as a legal holiday.

City Council will attempt to amend the charter with an ordinance up for discussion Monday that would exempt Christmas Eve from the meeting requirement. If one person challenges the ordinance in writing, however, the council must either withdraw the ordinance from consideration or let the public vote on it through a referendum.

The council must have a quorum, or six of its 11 members, present to have a meeting. Council Chairman Mark Bates has said he will attempt to have a quorum show up for Monday's meeting and move through the agenda swiftly. If a quorum cannot be attained, the meeting will be moved to Wednesday, Dec. 26, because Christmas Day is a legal holiday.

City officials were last faced with the Christmas Eve meeting dilemma in 2001. Then-Mayor David Felinton proposed a resolution to City Council to declare Christmas Eve as a legal holiday for city employees. Saying it would lead to overtime costs, council members defeated the resolution and conducted their meeting on Christmas Eve.

In other business Monday, the council will vote on the second reading of an ordinance that sets the salaries of the mayor and council members. The City Charter requires council members to review their and the mayor's salary every four years.

There are no proposed pay increases for the mayor or for council members. The mayor's salary was raised from $62,500 to $75,000 four years ago. Council members are paid $7,200 annually.

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