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by Paul Leakan
(June 12)Clarksburg City Council ended a special meeting Thursday without renewing the contract of City Manager Percy Ashcraft, and tabled the decision instead.
Council members, meeting in closed session, felt they needed to make some changes to a proposed ordinance that would extend Ashcraft's contract for two years, according to Mayor Louis Iquinto.
Ashcraft, Clarksburg's city manager since December 1995, is signed through the end of 1998, when his three-year contract ends.
The ordinance cannot be drawn up until the terms of the contract have been finalized, said John Farmer, Clarksburg's city attorney.
If Ashcraft's contract is renewed, he may also receive a pay raise. In his first year of 1996, he made $54,760. His current base salary stands at $57,694.
Council must move to consider the ordinance before any more discussions are held on the matter. The first reading of the ordinance is tentatively scheduled for the next regular meeting on June 18.
After the 8 a.m. conference session, council members once again discussed the demolition of the wall located between the former Evans Hotel, the Recreation Building and the Strand Pool Room on West Pike Street.
The city is in litigation with property owners Martin Shaffer and Sam Lacaria over the demolition of the 73-foot wall, which two engineers have determined to be unsafe.
According to Farmer, it's still questionable as to whether the wall poses any immediate danger.
Iquinto said he would rather play it safe, however.
"If there's one chance in a hundred that this wall could fall down, it should come down," he said.
Though the dispute is expected to be settled on Oct. 6 by Harrison County Judge Thomas A. Bedell, Iquinto is tired of waiting.
"Either tear the building down or fix it up," he said. "I'm tired of looking at it."