BUCKHANNON – Have you ever wondered how the City of Buckhannon is organized? Or who you need to speak with at City Hall regarding a particular issue? Or maybe even what volunteer board you would like to join?
Well, Buckhannon City Council heard those questions and has answered them by producing an organizational city flow chart. First reviewed at council’s Aug. 2 meeting, council members at the most recent meet Aug. 18 approved a revised organizational chart.
City attorney Tom O’Neill collaborated with mayor Robbie Skinner, city finance and administrative director Amberle Jenkins and councilman David McCauley to create the chart, which has three color-coded levels: elected officials, city employees/compensated board members, and volunteer boards/entities. The chart, pictured below, shows the residents of Buckhannon, W.Va. at the top because the citizens elect the mayor, city recorder and councilors-at-large, i.e., general council members.
At council’s Aug. 18 meeting, O’Neill presented the revised chart for council’s consideration.
“There were just a couple of changes that we made [since the Aug. 2, 2022, city council meeting] relative to the placement of the police and fire civil service commission, the inclusion of the VIPS folks, and the inclusion of the Historic Landmarks Commission, so we can have a truly comprehensive list of city entities,” O’Neill said. “As you can see, the city organization is a pretty flat organization, which is not inappropriate for a city of our size, but I think this will be an important tool for individuals, city stakeholders, to understand relationships of all the various city offices and departments and how they interface with each other.”
Skinner pointed out the color-coded chart key, and McCauley suggested placing chart printouts in City Hall or hanging the document somewhere easily visible to the general public.
“I think it’s just important that our citizenry know how vast our operations are,” McCauley said. “I think Tom has set out everything we do. If we just put it on a shelf and we don’t revisit it … let’s feature it. Let’s put it somewhere where everybody can see it.”
Councilwoman Pam Bucklew made a motion to approve the organizational chart, which was seconded by councilman Jack Reger prior to passing unanimously.
Aside from elected officials, another level of the chart consists of municipal employees and city board members who are compensated. The employees and compensated boards include appointed officers (the municipal judge, city attorney, city engineer, zoning/code enforcement officer, city architects); the director of finance and administration, Jenkins; the director of public works, Jerry Arnold; the enterprise boards consisting of the Consolidated Public Works Board, the Waste Board, the Water Board and the Sanitary Sewer Board; the Buckhannon Police Department; and the Buckhannon Fire Department.
The Buckhannon Police Department supervises its all-volunteer wing, Volunteers in Police Service, or VIPS.
Among the city’s volunteer boards are the Planning Commission, which authors comprehensive plans for the city including the Buckhannon 2025 plan; the Zoning Board of Appeals; the Housing Enforcement Board; the Police and Fire Civil Service Commissions; and the Charles W. Gibson Library Board. Paid library staff members fall within the purview of the library board. Advisory boards – including the Stockert Youth & Community Center Board, the Colonial Arts Center Board, the Buckhannon Parks & Recreation Advisory Board, Animal Care & Control Board and the Historic Landmarks Commission – also qualify as volunteer boards.
Jenkins, the finance and administrative director, oversees Stockert Youth & Community Center staff, Colonial Arts Center staff, the city parking officer, and employees tasked with maintaining City Hall operations and utility services. Meanwhile, Arnold, the public works director, supervises Street Department employees, Waste Department employees, Water Department employees and Sanitary Sewer Department employees. Both the city horticulture department, headed up by city horticulturist Dixie Green, and the city Cemetery Department fall under the Street Department. Additionally, the stormwater department is part of the Sanitary Sewer Department.
Notes on the chart explain several other important practices, detailed below:
- The mayor chairs all enterprise boards, and the city recorder is the ex-officio chair of all enterprise boards.
- The Consolidated Public Works Board, Waste Board and Water Board each include at least one city council member-at-large.
- Advisory boards serve as recommendation bodies for policy-making.
- City council shares hiring and the authority to set compensation with each enterprise board.
- Appointed officers, such as the city attorney, provide counsel and assistance to all city entities.
- The director of public works supervises all enterprise board employees.