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Mayor and City Council

The City of Elkins is divided, by charter, into five wards where two members serve for a total of 10, referred to as City Council. Members serve four-year terms; however, terms are staggered, which means that every two years a council member from each ward is up for reelection. Council members represent their ward in committee and council meetings and help make decisions on behalf of their constituents. Council is very powerful. Not only do they have authority over policymaking for the city, but they also may appoint or remove the city’s five administration officers (city clerk, city treasurer, fire chief, operations manager and police chief), adopt budgets and levy taxes, establish administrative departments, and appoint members to various boards and commissions. Elkins City Council doesn’t just work within its existing members, they also work very closely with the mayor.

Regardless of their positions, these elected officials remain your friends and neighbors. In second ward, Charles Friddle III, a resident of Elkins for 35 years, reads extensively and some of his favorite literature includes Civil War and West Virginia history. When asked where he would be if he were not in a council meeting, Charles said he may be serving in one of his other roles as a member of the Finance and Security Committee at the First United Methodist Church; the Randolph Country Development Authority; the Izaak Walton League; or Pack 88 of the Cub Scouts.

Marilynn Cuonzo, one of two Fourth Ward council members, loves Elkins because it is where she has worked, socialized and raised her daughter. To Marilynn, “Elkins is home, and that is important to me to have a place to call home.”

Third Ward Councilman Christopher Lowther has lived in Elkins his whole life and enjoys fishing, farming and being outdoors. Christopher would like the city to know that he is “an average working family man that wants to improve the city of Elkins.”

The mayor is elected at large, by every voting member of the municipality, every two years. Elkins has a system in place that limits the mayor’s authority and extends council’s. For example, the mayor does not have the authority to veto council action or vote on any matter except in the event of a tie. On paper, it appears the mayor’s role is limited, and in a sense it is; however, the mayor contributes a tremendous amount to the city. Duties he or she fulfills include setting the agenda for and serving as the chair of all council meetings, representing the city with outside organizations, attending ceremonial events, issuing proclamations, and serving on various boards and commissions.

Your mayor, Van T. Broughton, was born in Elkins and has lived most of his life here. Van has been involved in politics for 18 years. He served on city council for 12 years before seeking and winning the mayoral seat, which he has held for the past six years. His favorite part of the job as mayor is meeting people and seeing a long-term project come to completion. When asked what led him to seek the mayoral position, Van responded, “I wanted to try and make a difference in the community.” While Van does have a lot of experience in politics, growing up, basketball was his “first love” and his favorite hobby was, and still is, mountain biking. He loves the city of Elkins; in fact, he says Elkins is “a great community” and “the people are like family–always there for each other.”

City Council and the mayor work together to accomplish a variety of tasks. However, not only do they work together, but they work for their community. They are friends and neighbors who have hobbies, eat at the same restaurants, and love Elkins, the city of Elkins, just like we all do. Council and the mayor are much more accessible and relatable than most think. For a complete list of council members, go to cityofelkinswv.com.

— Alexis Smith is a Davis & Elkins student intern with the city of Elkins.

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