KEYSER- Keyser City Council member Mike Ryan had strong words for the operation of the city's water and sewer boards during the last council meeting.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER- Keyser City Council member Mike Ryan had strong words for the operation of the city’s water and sewer boards during the last council meeting.
The possible disbandment of the boards had been on the agenda for July 10, but Ryan said the boards need not be abolished, but made to follow the city’s ordinances.
“We have an ordinance creating the water and sewer boards, and we need to follow that ordinance,” he said.
“They’re supposed to report to the council before they do anything and this has not happened in the last year.”
The two boards are composed of persons appointed by the mayor, and in recent years have pretty much been given free reign to hire, fire, and make other decisions in regard to the city’s utilities.
When the boards were created, however, they were to make recommendations to the council, which in turn would approve or deny the decision.
Ryan said the autonomy given the boards over the past few years has caused a disconnect in information and the council members often are “in the dark” about any action they’ve taken.
Council member Jennifer Junkins agreed.
“They can fire somebody from the water plant and two weeks later the council finds out,” she said.
“I don’t think the council wants to have to answer for something a board has decided to arbitrarily do,” council member Terry Liller added.
He suggested amending the ordinance to say the boards cannot make any decisions without the approval of council.
Council member William Zacot said he felt, since the boards are appointed by the mayor and approved by the council, “anything they do comes here for approval.”
The council will hold a work session to further discuss the issue, and bring their recommendations back to the regular meeting on July 24.
The current makeup of the boards is as follows:
Sanitary Board: Mayor Damon Tillman, Charlie Junkins, Sonny Rhodes.
Water Board: Council member Eric Murphy, Charlie Junkins, and Sonny Rhodes.