KEYSER - Keyser mayor Damon Tillman said last week that he has chosen to leave one empty seat on the Keyser City Council for a specific purpose - in case ousted member Karol Ashenfelter wants to come back.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - Keyser mayor Damon Tillman said last week that he has chosen to leave one empty seat on the Keyser City Council for a specific purpose - in case ousted member Karol Ashenfelter wants to come back.
The council voted 4-0 on July 11, 2018, to remove Ashenfelter from the governing body, saying she ….
Ashenfelter, in turn, filed suit against the city in July 2019, saying her civil rights had been violated and the action against her was retaliatory in nature.
During the Feb. 26 council meeting, in which Tillman appointed Henry “Billy” Meek to fill the council seat recently vacated by Eric Murphy, the mayor noted that he would not be filling the seat that had been vacant since October due to Terry Liller’s resignation.
“Mrs. Ashfelter filed a lawsuit against the city, so we’re leaving it open in case she wants to come back,” he said.
“Or in case we’re told she has to come back,” he added.
Tillman explained that even with the two seats vacant, the council still had a quorum in order to be able to conduct business. If one of the remaining three council members could not attend a meeting, however, there would no longer be a quorum.
“The law says as long as we have a quorum, we don’t have to fill the other seat,” he said.
The vacancy won’t last for long, however, as both Liller’s and Murphy’s unexpired terms end on June 30. Both seats, as well as the seat currently held by Mike Ryan, will be filled during the June 9 city election.
Candidates vying for the three seats include: Leigh “Wink” Dixon, Elwood Junkins, Curtis Perry, incumbent Mike Ryan, Jim Hannas, Harry “Billy” Meek, Kelly Metcalf, Sean Liller and James Lough.
Murphy, who is also on the ballot, has asked to be removed. According to city administrator Amanda Brafford, however, he must submit a notarized Notice of Withdrawal of Candidacy form to the city office by the March 17 deadline.