Hewitt Steps In During Hess’ Illness

MOUNDSVILLE – Mayor Eugene Saunders said while City Manager Deanna Hess should soon return to work following an illness, City Clerk Sondra Hewitt will continue substituting in the meantime.

Including Tuesday, Hess has missed the last two council meetings due to illness. Saunders said Hewitt has been filling the position for the last two weeks.

“I talked to Deanna today. She is not feeling where she should be,” Saunders said.

Hewitt said she spoke with Hess, who informed her that she should return to work on May 27.

In the meantime, council members voted unanimously Tuesday to adjust salary during the absence of the city manager. The agenda item does not indicate whether Hess or Hewitt’s salary will be adjusted, and council members held no discussion on the matter before voting to approve it. Neither Saunders nor City Treasurer Karen Ankrom provided details on the matter following the meeting.

Also during the Tuesday City Council meeting, members Ginger DeWitt, Paul Haynes, David Haynes, K. Mark Simms and Phil Remke, along with Saunders and Vice Mayor David Wood, voted to accept the city’s new comprehensive plan that is the first updated version since 1972.

Council members voted to accept the comprehensive plan, which the city’s Planning Commission approved last week following a public hearing. The plan suggests Moundsville may be able to transform some former commercial structures to provide “adequate and affordable short and long-term housing.”

Other major goals of the comprehensive plan include: updating the city’s zoning codes and maps; continued development of the Riverfront Park; improving the condition of city streets and sidewalks; evaluating traffic patterns; and increasing sports and arts activities for children, including the increased use of the Strand Theatre.

“This was a collaborative project that, hopefully, will guide us for the next 10 years,” Wood said.

“I hope we do some of it,” Remke added.

Also during the meeting, council approved a $209,091.44 contract with Klug Brothers Inc. to pave five streets. The project includes paving on Myrtle Avenue from Fourth to Seventh streets; Ash Avenue between Second and Third streets; Mulberry Avenue from Meighen Avenue to Jackson Street; Eighth Street from Juniper Avenue to Annadale Avenue; and Cedar Avenue from Fourth to Seventh streets.

Following a motion by David Haynes, council entered an executive session to discuss real estate. After meeting for 20 minutes, council re-entered regular session with no public discussion of the real estate issue.