New Dunbar council OKs police, firefighter raises

By Marta Ree Tankersley
DUNBAR, W.Va. -- Ordinances to grant raises to Dunbar's hourly employees, police officers and firefighters passed unanimously during a City Council meeting Monday night.The pay increases, which average between 30 cents and 65 cents per hour, do not apply to elected officials and will take effect Sunday.Monday night was also the first meeting for new Mayor Terry D. Greenlee and the Dunbar council members, who officially began their four-year terms.Earlier in the day, Greenlee and the council members were sworn in and they conducted a day full of business meetings."We're a little jittery tonight," Greenlee said. "But, just like learning how to swim, we'll be sloppy at first, and in time, we'll get more relaxed with it."Greenlee said he would keep an open-door policy.Council members elected Ward 2 representative Dana K. Hayes as their new president. Hayes is expected to stay aware of city business and act as mayor in Greenlee's absence.Also Monday, Greenlee swore in new probationary police officer Chaz Ruppert, 25, who is from Ripley. "He is beginning his law enforcement career in Dunbar, and we hope he spends his entire career here," Police Chief Earl Whittington said. Since Independence Day celebrations commonly include fireworks, Whittington cautioned citizens about the city's fireworks policy."If you set off Roman candles, M-80s, cherry bombs or similar illegal fireworks, you'll be cited and we will confiscate them," he said. "We want to make sure celebrations are fun, festive and safe."Further, because fireworks are sometimes mistaken as gunshots, Whittington said the department will respond to every call and encouraged people to use the new tip line number, 304-766-0201, where reports will remain anonymous.
Also, because the holiday falls on Thursday, trash and recycling pickup will be postponed until Friday, according to Mike Williams, the acting public works director.Dunbar recreation consultant Aaron Settle announced free Fourth of July activities at the Shawnee pool are scheduled from noon to 3 p.m. on Thursday."We encourage you and your families to come for free music, inflatable games, and hotdogs," he said.
Also, Settle said that a false report claiming swimmers had become ill because of poor sanitation at Shawnee Park resulted in a surprise inspection by the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, which found "the pool water and chemicals were perfect."The health department also gave the pool concession stand a "green-flag bill of health," which is the highest classification, Settle said."We take great pride in our facilities -- keeping them clean and safe," he said.Also Monday, property owner James Porter requested that the city not accept the annexation request proposed by residents of the West Dunbar area in May.According to Greenlee, city attorneys are examining the legal aspects of the annexation request and once a recommendation is made, the public will be notified.Council also approved the $2,533.32 purchase of a new garage door for the central fire station.
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