King tapped as mayor in Belington

Belington has a new mayor, and he says he has a plan. Councilman Bobby King was selected by City Council Thursday to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Jody Haller last week.

“I want to get everything settled down and get everyone going in one direction,” King, who has been serving as a Third Ward councilman, said after Thursday’s council meeting. “Belington is a great area to visit and a great place to live.”

Haller tendered his resignation to council May 9, and council members met in an emergency meeting May 11. During that meeting, council selected City Clerk Susan Bradley to serve as acting mayor until Thursday’s meeting.

King said Thursday his town is not without problems.

“We are working on the infrastructure,” King said. “We are working on our sewer and water systems. We have some crime like all other small towns, but when we get another police officer, that will help take care of the problem.”

Belington’s former police chief, Keith Rowan, resigned April 19, stating that he could not work with Haller.

King said Belington currently has only two police officers working.

“We need three officers, but four would be better,” King said. “Once we hire those officers, we need to let them do their work.”

  • At the beginning of Thursday’s meeting, during the public comment section, Belington resident Doug Cutlip asked council what the city charter says – “verbatim,” he insisted – about replacing the mayor.

“Our charter calls for the appointment of the mayor by city council at this meeting or at a special meeting before the next regular meeting,” said Bradley.

“Are you talking about an interim mayor?” Cutlip asked.

“I am talking about a mayor,” Bradley said. “Until the next election.”

“My next question is what does it say in the city charter about the required attendance of city councilmen?” Cutlip asked.

“There is nothing in there,” Bradley said.

“So you can be elected and not come to the meetings,” Cutlip asked.

“It actually has to go through the circuit court if someone refuses to resign according to our city attorney,” said Bradley.

“As a lot of you know, I did run for city council and there were only two people that ran,” said Cutlip, who ran against Tom Yocum, a current Fourth Ward councilman.

“The person I ran against did get elected,” Cutlip said. “It is my understanding that this person is not very attentive. I would like to see City Council question that person to see if they are going to start attending (council meetings) or have they lost interest?”

“That’s done been done,” said Councilman Marshall Reed. Officials said the town has sent a certified letter to Yocum asking his intentions about remaining on council.

– Also during the public comment section of Thursday’s meeting, Linda Watson, director of the Barbour Family Resource Network, reminded council members of the Hooked On Fishing event from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.

“I think it’s going to be a great event,” Watson said. “I hope you can all come out.”

– Council voted to run ads for police officers and a new council person for Third Ward to fill the vacancy created by the appointment of King as mayor.

– Council voted to fill planning commission.

The next Belington Council meeting is slated for 7:30 p.m. June 6.