WELLSBURG - Voters in the city's June 15 election could be asked to consider whether the city's police chief should be an elected or appointed position.
City Council approved, through a 5-3 vote, the first reading of an ordinance that would put the issue on the ballots.
If the second reading is approved in April, voters will be asked whether the police chief should continue to be an elected position or one appointed by the city manager with the approval of majority of council.
Supporting the measure were 2nd Ward Council members Ron Michaux and Tammy Provenzano, 3rd Ward Councilmen Bill Smith and Randy Fletcher and 4th Ward Councilman Jeff Tarr.
Voting against were 1st Ward Councilmen Bruce Hunter and Mike Mitchell and 4th Ward Councilwoman Della Serevicz. Smith said earlier most municipalities in West Virginia have appointed police chiefs, and the move reflects changing times in which the position calls for experience in law enforcement.
He suggested establishing qualifications for the job.
The ordinance calling for the election doesn't give specific qualifications but states the police chief "shall be a person of proven administrative ability with experience and training in law enforcement."
Stanley Kins, the city's current police chief, said the city's charter describes the position as an administrative one.
Kins said the small size of the city's police department, which has five members besides the chief, has required him to take a more active role in the field.
If voters support an appointed chief, the change won't occur until after the remaining two years of Kins' current term.
(Scott can be contacted at email@example.com.)