Rights Commission Meeting Places Questioned

Should the Wheeling Human Rights Commission hold its regular meetings at local restaurants, including several that serve alcohol?

Wheeling Councilman Donald Atkinson, during Tuesday’s regular council meeting, said he does not agree with the concept after learning the commission has been meeting at restaurants rather than at the City-County Building.

“I wonder how professional that is,” Atkinson said.

While little discussion was held on council floor following Atkinson’s comments, Mayor Andy McKenzie thanked him for his remarks and assured that the matter would be addressed.

The Centre Market Commission also prompted comment and action during Tuesday’s meeting in Council Chambers. An ordinance, slated for first reading during the meeting, called for revamping the duties of the Centre Market Commission by placing all personnel issues under the city manager’s list of responsibilities rather than the commission’s.

Councilman James Tiu said he appreciated the measure because it will bring uniformity to city operations. He also suggested the administration review all city boards and commissions to see if changes might be in order to improve their operations as well.

At Tiu’s request, council held both the first and second reading of the ordinance. It was passed by a unanimous vote.

Council also dispensed with the rules Tuesday and gave first and final reading to two measures: one that calls for paying $30,253 to Erb Electric of Bridgeport for electrical upgrade work at the water department’s Stackyard Booster station; and a second measure that calls for paying $18,738 to Biss Nuss Inc. of Pittsburgh for a disc-flo pump, also for the water department.

In less than 30 minutes Tuesday night, council spent an additional $300,000 to keep the city’s water system on track by unanimously approving 10 ordinances that call for the purchase of chemicals and other supplies for the water department.

In other business, Vice Mayor Eugene Fahey, a member of the On-Track Commission that will eventually bring a new Main Street program to Wheeling, reported that the program is “off and running” and expects the Main Street concept to be adopted soon in Wheeling.

McKenzie said the On-Track program is a group that facilitates downtown development.

“This is a very forward-looking organization, very aggressive,” he said.

Tuesday’s council meeting was opened with a prayer from Pastor Mike Amico, who has served as pastor and founder of the Ohio Valley Christian Center in Wheeling for the past 11 years. McKenzie, who attends the OV Christian Center, said Amico is retiring his post in Wheeling and may soon be leaving the area. He praised the pastor for his work and “energy in Wheeling.”

“He’s the only pastor to not hold church on Sunday recently so that his entire congregation could perform a cleanup in the city. We went out and picked up 10, 15, 20 bags of garbage in North Wheeling and then went to South Wheeling. He also had food baskets made and presented them to each firehouse in the city,” McKenzie said. “I personally would like to thank him for all he has done here and wish him well.”