City makes Haught’s chief position official
Former Sistersville Police Chief Rob Haught was returned to his position at Monday night’s Sistersville Council meeting.
The decision to give the interim chief the official title came after the council members individually voiced their choice for the position. Three officers applied for the job: Haught, Alex Northcraft, and Andy Weekley.
Mayor Bill Rice had voiced his recommendation to make Haught the chief until April when they would appoint the position. Councilman Mark Klages said he would like council to have the chance to vote on all three. That is what happened next. Their choices were as follows: Klages, Northcraft; Bonnie Hizer, Haught; Mitch Corley, Haught; Harold Dally, Haught; and Phil Konopacky, Haught.
“We just think Rob has more experience,” Hizer said to Northcraft, who was attending the meeting. He said he would like to point out that according to the city charter, the police chief must live within the city limits. Northcraft lives in Sistersville while Haught lives in New Martinsville.
Rice said the city has set a precedent in the past. Haught did not live in the city when he was police chief for 17 years. The next three police chiefs also did not live in Sistersville.
Klages noted he is in the process of writing an ordinance to remove the residency requirement for all the city offices.
Rice said that is a change many small towns are making. “We’ve gotten so small that it is hard to hire within your town’s population,” he explained.
“I think you do a heck of a job, I really do,” Rice complemented Northcraft. “My best advice for you is to keep learning and keep doing the job you’re doing. You’re going to be a good one-you are a good one.”
Haught was hired into the Sistersville Police Department in 1987 and became chief in 1989. He then left the department to be the chief deputy for the Wetzel County Sheriff’s Office from 2005 to 2012, eventually returning to the SPD in 2012.
Council affirmed the vote and Rice swore Haught into office during the meeting.
In another matter of filling a position, council formally accepted Rachel Marrin’s resignation from her Fourth Ward council seat. Her letter to council said other commitments have become too great her to fulfill the requirements of the position.
Rice said two people have come forward as interested in that position: Tonya Tippins and Jerry Morris. Council discussed the correct manner to fill the position, then Klages said that according to the charter, Section 14, it took a vote of the majority of those present shall fill the vacancy until the next election. “I think the answer’s right here. Those of us who are present need to vote,” said Klages.
Council was about to vote on the matter when a citizen noted that the agenda did not list the filling of the position, just the acceptance of the resignation. Council cannot vote on a matter that is not on the posted agenda. Council agreed. Corley made a motion to table the matter.
The next council meeting will be held Dec. 8, 7 p.m, at the Sistersville Volunteer Fire Department.