Council remembers city judge

The mayor and Philippi City Council paused Tuesday to honor and remember Terry Upton, who passed away last week.

Philippi Mayor Jerry Mouser read a proclamation at the meeting to honor Upton, who served the city for many years, most recently as the city judge. Upton served as a member of the Philippi Fire Department, and as a utility clerk, policeman and magistrate. Upton passed away Jan. 30.

In other news, City Manager Karen Weaver said the chairlift at City Hall has been inspected and is now approved for public use.

The Rev. Bob Wilkins also spoke at the meeting, requesting that city council consider stopping its search for a new police chief. Wilkins said the city council need to look no further than its current interim police chief, Jeff Walters.

“You already have a proven officer, a dedicated employee and a city resident, willing, capable, trained and respected by peers and the community,” Wilkins said. “You would not be short-circuiting the process to offer the position to your acting chief of police. You would, in fact, in my opinion, be putting a man of vision, talent and good character in that department, not some time in the future, but now.”

Mouser later said that the city is required by law to advertise for the position whether or not Walters is chosen, and they must follow the proper guidelines before they can officially name the new chief.

“In my opinion, it’s not always practical, and it’s not always in the best interest of the city, its residents or the police department, and I think that’s the situation at this particular point in time,” Wilkins said about seeking candidates from outside the city.

“Good men and women are hard to find,” Wilkins said.

Walters has been an officer with the Philippi Police Department for 16 years prior to becoming the interim chief of police, and has applied for the police chief position. Walters was present at the council meeting and thanked Wilkins for his “vote of confidence.”

Walters then requested an executive session to discuss matters of the police department.

The executive session lasted nearly an hour. No further business was discussed after council came back into session.