Keyser City Council votes 3-2 to deny administrator’s reappointment

Staff Writer
Mineral Daily News-Tribune

By Liz Beavers

Tribune Managing Editor

KEYSER - In a move that seemed to take the mayor and city administrator by surprise, the Keyser City Council voted 3-2 Wednesday evening to deny Mayor Damon Tillman’s reappointment of Amanda Brafford as city administrator.

In accordance with the city’s charter, the mayor made his appointment of various supervisors, department heads and boards Wednesday, and every appointment was unanimously approved by the council until Tillman got to his reappointment of Brafford.

The motion to reappoint her was made by council member Mike Ryan and seconded by Billy Meek, but council members Jim Hannas, William Zacot and Jennifer Junkins all voted against, with Meek and Ryan voting for.

“Do you guys have anybody then you want to recommend?” a surprised mayor asked, to which Junkins replied, “I don’t think the council can recommend until after two (recommendations) by the mayor.”

Brafford, also visibly stunned, asked the council, “If you don’t want me here … I mean, I don’t know why.”

When Tillman asked if any of the council members wished to respond, Ryan said he felt Brafford had been doing a good job for the short amount of time she’s been in the position.

“She hasn’t been here a year yet,” he said, adding “Eagle (former administrator Buck Eagle” was supposed to train her. He left as soon as she got the job. It’s hard to learn where you should step in and where you shouldn’t. That comes with experience.”

Tillman asked if there was any other discussion and when the council was silent, he just shook his head.

“I’ve never heard from anybody about anything I was doing or was not doing,” Brafford spoke up.

“I think we need to carry this over (to another meeting),” Tillman said, to which Meek commented, “I agree. We need to see what everyone thinks….It’s a pretty important part of running the city.”

Tillman then asked if there were any questions from the audience, and the News Tribune asked about a decision voted upon in 2019 in which the council declared the city administrator a hired position as opposed to be ing an appointed position.

According to Junkins, however, that decision “was never changed in the ordinance” and so it never became effective.

Brafford told the News Tribune, however, that the issue “has gone to an attorney.”

The meeting was adjourned with no further action.