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Former mayor: Just the facts, please

On a social media post dated May 2, 2020, a sitting Town of Beverly Sanitary Board member commented the following: “The past mayor liked anyone until you disagreed with her. Then you became the bad guy/enemy and she came after you.”

Let us look at public records and see if this individual – appointed in 2014 and still seated today – has a valid point.

Fact: West Virginia Code 8-10-1 declares “the mayor of every municipality to be the chief executive officer in such municipality…,” and “shall see that the ordinances, orders, bylaws, acts, resolutions, rules and regulations of the governing body thereof are faithfully executed.”

Fact: WV Code 16-13-8 requires that the mayor be seated on a municipality’s Sanitary Board. After a request from the utility board, Town Council adopted in early 2017 a revised ordinance that removed the mayor from the board. I rescinded this new, incorrect ordinance and resumed my mandated position on the board. (see Council meeting minutes Dec.28, 2016, and Utility Board meeting minutes July 24, 2017 and Aug. 21, 2017)

Fact: A Department of Environmental Protection notice asking for a Plan of Action regarding the town’s Inflow and Infiltration issue at the sewer plant had not been addressed since it was received in 2012. I immediately addressed this by contacting an engineering firm. (see DEP Order No. 8711 and Council meeting minutes Nov. 13, 2017)

Fact: No legal advertisement alerting the public was published before a sewer rate increase approved by town council in 2017. I began the ordinance process anew before the rate hike took effect. (see Tariff Form No. 12 and Utility Board meeting minutes Oct. 12, 2017)

Fact: By 2017, no official sign-off required for the tariff was received by the Public Service Commission by Ghosh Engineering once the town’s Water Project was essentially finished in 2014 and water rates hiked. Nor was the contract with Ghosh formally rescinded when the sewer project did not go forth as originally planned. Both issues were rectified by me. (see Council meeting minutes March 26, 2018 and April 17, 2018)

Fact: Finding upon taking office that the water plant was out of compliance with current state regulation 64CSR4 by not having in place a full-time Chief Operator, I addressed the issue with the Department of Health and Human Resources. The town hired a full-time Chief Operator immediately. (see Council meeting minutes, Jan. 8, 2018)

Fact: From April to October 2016, the Utility Board minutes show a vote to conduct two monthly meetings – one open to the public where financials were not disclosed – and one only for administration where financials were discussed. (see Utility Board meeting minutes April 28, 2016)

Fact: Despite Municipal Bonds regulations requiring that they remain individual boards meeting separately, the water and sanitary boards met as conjoined for decades. Against great pushback by town and county officials, two new, separate water and sanitary board ordinances were adopted by Town Council in April 2019 with Council deciding the town attorney did not need to look them over. (see Council meeting minutes December 11, 2018, Feb. 25, 2019, and April 16, 2019)

Fact: When pertinent information was not included in the Council meeting minutes, I was required to email the omitted details involving board members questioned about missing meeting minutes and retirement matched on board member compensation. No action was taken on my request, and the approved minutes show no mention of this discussion. (See Feb. 12, 2018, and June 3, 2019, Council meeting minutes with attached June 11, 2019, email)

Fact: “…the mayor… shall see that the ordinances, orders, bylaws, acts, resolutions, rules and regulations of the governing body thereof are faithfully executed.”

Cindy Karelis

Former Mayor of Beverly

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