KEYSER - What had started off as a nice sendoff for Keyser city clerk Brandi Paugh took an ugly turn Wednesday evening when an angry Paugh stormed out of an executive session and left the building.

By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - What had started off as a nice sendoff for Keyser city clerk Brandi Paugh took an ugly turn Wednesday evening when an angry Paugh stormed out of an executive session and left the building.
Prior to Wednesday’s regular Keyser City Council meeting, Paugh, who has worked for the city for three years, had submitted her resignation, with her intended last day of employment being Friday.
Although the mayor and council did not discuss or vote to accept her resignation during the business portion of Wednesday’s meeting, city administrator Buck Eagle did take the opportunity during his report to thank Paugh for her dedication to the city.
Saying she would “not easily be replaced,” Eagle commented that Paugh had done way more than her job description should have entailed, and expressed his intention to “redistribute” some of her duties when she left.
Council member Terry Liller commented at the time that, “the city did everything they could do to get her to stay.”
It was during an executive session called later in the meeting for personnel matters, however, that Paugh became angry and left the closed-door session, coming back into the council chambers where a shocked crowd awaited the return of the council.
“I busted my a$$ to leave on a good note,” she said through tears as she left the council chambers with her husband, who had been seated in the audience.
Before she left, however, she handed the News Tribune a list of complaints she had made against the new mayor and council. The list, which she also gave to resident Brenda Kitzmiller, asking her to read it publicly when the council returned to open session, includes such items as alleged improper hiring practices, raises given without council approval, and investigations into records dealing with a former employee.
When the mayor and council came out of executive session after approximately an hour, member Jennifer Junkins set up the recording equipment, which had been one of Paugh’s tasks during meetings.
Tillman addressed the crowd: “So we had an executive session. Brandi Paugh had some concerns and she got upset about midway through and left, yelling some profanities.
“She took her stuff, so we’re assuming she won’t be back.”
“Well, some of her stuff is still here, so we don’t really know,” Junkins commented.
Coincidentally, the next item on the agenda was citizens’ comments, and the first on the list was Penny Sanders - and her topic was Brandi Paugh.
“I got to work with Brandi for several years, and I got to know her … she was, in my opinion, an asset to the City of Keyser, and I’m sorry this happened,” Sanders said.
“I just want everybody to know that she went over and above what she had to do and she was city clerk, even though some of the stuff has not been given to her and was given to another worker,” Sanders said, adding that Paugh had told her that the mayor had told Paugh he didn’t trust her.
“Brandi did an excellent job and I do want to thank Brandi for her years of service,” Sanders said.
Sitting beside Sanders’ chair was a bouquet of flowers which she had intended to give Paugh during the meeting.
“We all have critics, but she was an outstanding employee,” Liller added to Sanders’ comments.
A little later in the meeting, Kitzmiller got specific with an issue that seemed to be central to the rift between Paugh and the newly-elected officials.
Naming a current city employee’s wife by name, Kitzmiller asked if it was true that she had not only already been interviewed for Paugh’s job, but that she had already given her two weeks notice at her present job because she was told the city job would be hers.
“This all goes back to the hearsay with the Randy Amtower administration … it’s all the backstabbing,” Tillman said. “I never told Brandi I didn’t trust her. This is the stuff that’s got to stop.”
As for why some work had been taken from Paugh and given to another employee, Tillman said, “Brandi came into the office and was literally crying that she was overwhelmed; she can’t do all this work. She can’t handle any more work.”
He claimed that the rumor that the woman had already been given the job without council approval started with Paugh.
“They were back there giving her an interview, and Brandi comes back and sees her. Brandi immediately got on her cellphone and started texting somebody and before the interview was over, it was on social media,” he said.
Tillman said interviews for the position are ongoing.