Morgantown council members approve first reading to increase compensation

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — By a vote of 6 to 1, Morgantown City Council passed the first reading of an ordinance increasing council compensation in July 2027 after some spirited debate.

Fifth Ward Councilor Danielle Trumble was the lone dissenting vote.

Kim Haws

The proposed ordinance would increase the per-meeting pay from $250 to $350 for council members and $350 to $450 for the mayor. That would take annual pay up to $8,400 for council members and nearly $11,000 for the mayor’s position.

City Manager Kim Haws said he has worked with many city councils over the years and that it is not uncommon for them to consider a compensation increase for future members of the elected body.

“It seems fair and equitable for the amount of time this council puts into their duties,” Haws said. “I think it’s fair and equitable.”

Danielle Trumble

Trumble said the pay councilors receive for the work they do is “comical,” but she said many before her have done the same amount of work for the same compensation level.

However, Trumble said now is not the appropriate time to consider increases for councilors when there are complaints about compensation from city employees and the turnover rate is on the rise.

“We as a council have taken no steps to address any of that, and I’m not sure this is the time to do any of this,” Trumble said.

Trumble also questioned the compensation and duties of the mayor. While acknowledging that the mayor has some different duties, she said the mayor has no additional authority in the city manager form of government.

Bill Kawecki

“The mayor is a voluntary position, and it is essentially equal to everyone else,” Trumble said. “I don’t understand why the mayor makes $2,400 more than any other member of council for simply volunteering to give in a meeting.”

Many things council members do and are working on are in progress, and many can’t be devout until deals or agreements are finalized, according to Second Ward Councilor Bill Kawecki. He wants more of these projects to make it to the floor of council meetings for the public to see.

“I’d like to see a lot more of that come to the floor and stop hearing all this crap about how things are not being done and being ignored when they’re not and we’re trying to do things,” Kawecki said. “This is just another little bit of flak and stupidity that makes this job harder.”

Brian Butcher

Seventh Ward Councilor Brian Butcher said he would vote for the proposal but questioned how it made it to the agenda when there are other priorities. Butcher cited the warming shelter issue that has not been addressed and the ongoing issues to fill the void created by financial problems at Bartlett Housing Solutions.

“People are choosing to take this on; it’s a massive sacrifice that has a lot of delirious effects on your family life, your leisure life, and everything else,” Butcher said.

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