CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Charleston City Council is one of the largest in the nation, with New York City, Chicago and Nashville being the only cities with bigger councils.
Efforts continue to reduce the size of the council, but critics believe more is better. Council members aren’t nearing a vote on this just yet, but the sides are being drawn.
Critics of council reduction, say the bigger size gives the general public more accessibility to their government. But those who want to shrink the council size, say it will make the remaining members more hands-on.
“I am actually for the reduction in the size of council. I think that the benefit is that we would be able to have more councilmembers on the committee, all of the committees and be more involved,” said Councilmember Jennifer Pharr, who supports downsizing the council.
“I think it’s a good thing to have more people involved with government, not fewer. And so, I like that we have a large city council. I think that we have smaller districts so that people know who their member, who their ward representative is on council,” said Councilmember Emmett Pepper, who opposes downsizing council
In comparing West Virginia’s three largest cities, the numbers are stark in contrast.
While Charleston, has 26 council members, Huntington has 11 and Morgantown has only seven. The Charleston City Council can reduce its membership by reducing the number of ward members. But at-large council members, who represent to whole city, can only be reduced by voters.
Charleston’s Select Committee on Council size will meet on Oct. 25 at 5:30 p.m.