Mayor: 'No hurry' to fill vacant council seat
KEYSER - Keyser mayor Damon Tillman says he is “in no hurry” to fill the city council seat vacated last week by the resignation of Ron Metcalf.
Metcalf, who was appointed Feb. 24 to fill a seat left vacant since last September, resigned effective Tuesday, July 6, after serving as the city’s parks and recreation commissioner for not quite five months.
Although his resignation email to city administrator Jeff Broadwater cited person reasons as his motivation for stepping down, he told the News Tribune last week that he and the council just “weren’t a good fit.”
Metcalf also told the News Tribune his decision had nothing to do with any of the other city officials.
“This is about Ron Metcalf; it’s not about any other council member,” he said. “I gave my head, my heart and my gut a vote and they all three voted to resign.”
He also confirmed to the News Tribune that he might consider getting back into city service in the future by running for mayor.
Wednesday, Tillman said Metcalf’s reason for leaving office really doesn’t matter to him.
“Mr. Metcalf’s reasoning for resigning … Honestly, I don’t care at this point. I just want somebody who wants to be a part of the city,” he said.
Tillman did say, however, he feels Metcalf’s comment that he might run for mayor was a personal shot at him.
“I’ve never had a cross word with that man … (but the newspaper article) looked like he took a shot at me. ‘I think I might just run for mayor.’ I tell you what, if you’re going to run for mayor or you’re going to run for council, you’ve got to have a thick skin,” Tillman said, adding that you also have to understand “it’s a four-year term and not a five-month term.”
Tillman also said the general public does not understand just how little power the mayor really has.
“If you think you’re going to be the mayor and you’re going to have all this power, you’re wrong,” he said. “You know, there was a lot that I thought I could do and I had to get smacked down and put in my place and told ‘hey, this has gotta go before the council.’ You may be the mayor, but the council makes the decisions,” he said.
Tillman also took issue with some of the accomplishments Metcalf cited in his comments to the News Tribune.
“I just want to say this … it was a council effort on everything. There is no ‘I’ in team. It was a council effort that got a lot of stuff done.
“I appreciate what he did here … We had good things going on at the parks; he just decided not to stick it out.
“But I’m in no rush to fill the seat,” Tillman continued. “I don’t have to be in a rush; I’m going to take my time and hopefully find somebody who is qualified and wants to do the job.”
Tillman said he has not yet decided if the new person will be appointed parks and recreation commissioner or if he will “switch the positions around.”
He thanked the current council for their hard work, and noted again that the council “is not a one-man show.”
Current members of the council are Jim Hannas, Jennifer Junkins, Billy Meek and Mike Ryan.
Liz Beavers is managing editor of the Mineral Daily News Tribune and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org