KEYSER - A visibly angry mayor Damon Tillman spoke out Wednesday in response to a letter from one of the candidates for Keyser City Council which ran in Tuesday's News Tribune.
By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - A visibly angry mayor Damon Tillman spoke out Wednesday in response to a letter from one of the candidates for Keyser City Council which ran in Tuesday’s News Tribune.
The letter, which was paid for by candidate Curtis Perry, accused Tillman of influencing the upcoming election by choosing one of the other candidates - Billy Meek - to fill an empty seat on the council. On On Feb. 26, Tillman appointed - and the council members approved - Meek to fill the seat vacated by Eric Murphy’s resignation.
In the paid letter, Perry called the action “shady” and “a willful interference with the election process.”
“You council members, I want you to understand you’re being called ‘shady,’” Tillman said to the four sitting officials.
“If we’re that shady, then please have us investigated,” he said to the public. “I can promise you one thing, this council isn’t shady!”
Tillman went on to read portions of the letter, including Perry’s statement that the mayor chose not to fill the seat vacated by Terry Liller’s resignation in October because “he could not find the right yes-man at the time to meet his standards.”
“I can tell you this … not one of these people are yes-men and yes-women,” Tillman said of council members Billy Meet, William Zacot, Jennifer Junkins and Mike Ryan. “
“Jen fights me on things; they’ve all chewed my rear end out in executive session about things. Believe me, they’re not yes-men and yes-women.”
As for Perry’s suggestion that Tillman’s praise of Meek when he appointed him to the council gave him an unfair advantage over the other candidates by calling him “a proven leader,” Tillman said he stands by his comments.
“That’s exactly what I said and that’s exactly what I meant,” he said. “He’s a proven leader in his work, he’s a proven leader this community and that’s what we want on this council is leaders.”
As for Perry’s printed comments, Tillman said, “This is not what we need on this council. We don’t need people making false accusations or giving half-truths that don’t have a clue what they’re talking about.”
Tillman also addressed those candidates who were in the audience for Wednesday’s meeting - Elwood Junkins, Jim Hannas and James Lough, as well as incumbent Ryan - saying they had proven their worthiness to serve on the council by simply caring enough to attend the council meetings and see what is going on in the city.
“I think any one of you would be an asset to this council,” he said.
“I’m not swaying anybody, Actually, Mr. Perry is insulting all the citizens of Keyser,” he said. “He’s saying that just because I put Mr. Meek up there that the citizens don’t have their own mind to make up as to who to vote for.
“So maybe he ought to apologize to the citizens.”