Council Listens to Concerns About Pool, Opening at Risk

Benwood Council on Tuesday approved raises for the manager and groundskeeper at the Benwood Pool, but members also heard concerns that repairs at the pool might not be complete before its scheduled opening Memorial Day weekend.

Pool manager John Varner will receive a $1-per-hour increase – raising his wage to $11 per hour – under an ordinance read a second time and passed by council. Groundskeeper Russ Neff also received a $1-per-hour raise, bumping his pay from to $9.75 per hour.

A new gutter system is being installed at the pool, and Police Chief Frank Longwell expressed doubt the work will be finished before the pool’s scheduled opening.

“It’s a huge project,” he said. “I’m shaking about whether the pool will open on time.”

A city worker has been working extensively to weld the gutter system in place, and Johnson Boiler has offered to provide a welder, according to city officials. Johnson Boiler crafted the gutters for Benwood.

Council also passed an ordinance establishing an appearance policy for the city’s workers following a second and final reading of the measure.

The ordinance establishes standards for keeping facial hair trimmed and other grooming practices.

Council heard the first reading of an ordinance naming City Clerk Judy Hunt Benwood’s new municipal court judge. Hunt would replace attorney George Sidiropolis, who has taken a job with the Marshall County Public Defender’s Office.

Hunt has served as Sidiropolis’ assistant in the court, and sat in for him when he could not preside. She has completed the necessary training for the position.

Council – which recently considered a raise in pay for Sidiropolis – decided it would keep the wage for the position at $250 per court date. The court typically meets twice a month.

Councilman Curtis Mele was not present at Tuesday’s meeting, while councilmen John Kazemka and Larry Ferrera III came later in the meeting.

Benwood City Council’s next regularly scheduled meeting would fall on May 13, which is West Virginia’s primary election. That meeting has been canceled, and council will next convene May 27.