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The West Virginia Ethics Commission has issued an advisory opinion (A.O. 2016-04) that overturns   earlier Advisory Opinions (AO 2006-05, AO 2012-04) and confirms that West Virginia law allows a City Council to employ its Mayor as a full-time or part-time City employee.   

 

The Ethics Commission cautioned that such a hiring decision must be based solely upon merit, and that a hiring City Council may not show favoritism or give special treatment to the Mayor/employee in hiring and other employment decisions and personnel matters.  A Mayor/employee may not vote on personnel matters directly and solely affecting him/her, but may vote on personnel matters affecting five or more employees in the same manner, whether or not the Mayor/employee is also affected by that matter. 

The Ethics Commission’s Advisory Opinions interpret the West Virginia Ethics Act, and may be relied upon by Cities as lawful unless or until an opinion is amended or revoked or the law is changed.  

Advisory Opinions are posted on the Ethics Commission web site at http://www.ethics.wv.gov/advisoryopinion/EthicsAO/Pages/default.aspx.