Senate Bill No. 547
(By Senators Palumbo, Beach and Nohe)
[Passed March 8, 2014; in effect ninety days from passage.]
AN ACT to amend and reenact §8-5-7 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to increasing or decreasing the number of municipal wards or election districts and council members.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §8-5-7 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 5. ELECTION, APPOINTMENT, QUALIFICATION AND COMPENSATION OF OFFICERS; GENERAL PROVISIONS RELATING TO OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES; ELECTIONS AND PETITIONS GENERALLY; CONFLICT OF INTEREST.
§8-5-7. Certain officers; wards or election districts; residency and other requirements.
(a) Unless otherwise provided in the charter of a municipality, there shall be elected a mayor, a recorder and council members, who together shall form the governing body of the municipality.
(b) When a municipality has not been divided into wards or election districts, there shall be at least five council members, but when the municipality has been divided into wards or election districts, the governing body may, by ordinance, determine the number of council members to be elected from each ward or election district. When it is considered necessary, the governing body may, by ordinance, increase or decrease the number of wards or election districts and change the boundaries thereof, the wards or election districts to be made as nearly equal as may be, in population, and when the municipality is divided into wards or election districts, or there is an increase or decrease in the number of wards or election districts as aforesaid, the governing body may increase or decrease the number of council members and, in the case of an increase in the number of council members, direct an election to be held at the next regular municipal election in the additional ward or wards or election district or districts so that each ward or election district may have its full number of council members residing therein and may have equal representation on the governing body. When a municipality has been divided into wards or election districts, the governing body may, by ordinance, also provide for the election of council members at large in addition to the council members to be elected from each ward or election district. The provisions of this subsection are applicable to any municipality except to the extent otherwise provided in the charter of the municipality.
(c) Unless otherwise provided by charter provision or ordinance, the mayor, recorder and council members must be residents of the municipality and must be qualified voters entitled to vote for members of its governing body. A city manager in a manager form of government need only be a resident of the city at the time of his or her appointment.