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City council to conduct Christmas Eve meeting

December 24, 2018

HUNTINGTON — Huntington City Council will conduct a regularly scheduled meeting on Christmas Eve, but council members do not intend to discuss or take action on any items.

An agenda released ahead of Monday’s meeting does not list discussion of any old business or the introduction of any new business.

Council members expect to receive reports from Mayor Steve Williams, who recently attended the National League of Cities Mayors’ Institute on Opioids in Nashville, Tennessee, with City Manager Cathy Burns, Huntington fire chief Jan Rader and Huntington Police Lt. Phil Watkins.

Council members will also hear from members of the public during the “good and welfare” portion of the meeting.

Since being introduced on Nov. 12, council members have yet to discuss and take action on an ordinance that would see them give up the right to name people to the Cabell Huntington Hospital Board of Directors in exchange for $1 million.

Cabell Huntington Hospital wants more control over who sits on its board of directors after completing the acquisition of St. Mary’s Medical Center. Williams said he supports the move because the hospital is in a better position to name qualified people to serve on the board.

The Service Employees International Union District 1199, which represents employees at Cabell Huntington and supports organization efforts at St. Mary’s, is opposed to the ordinance.

The union fears the ordinance would remove the average citizens’ voice from the board. The hospital said it agrees to follow guidelines set forth by city council, including appointing a city resident, a county resident and a residents who makes below the average median income. The ordinance could be introduced during a meeting in January. Cabell County Commission passed a similar ordinance in November, which is contingent on the city’s decision.

Travis Crum is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. He may be reached by phone at 304-526-2801.

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