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City to advertise for interim mayor

HONORED FOR SAVING A LIFE — Wellsburg City Police Chief  Richard Ferguson, right, recognized City Patrolman Jonathan Griffin for preventing the death of a woman found using a knife to cut her own neck outside the Wellsburg Kroger store on March 23. -- Warren Scott

WELLSBURG — Following the recent death of Mayor Sue Simonetti and with a city election to determine the mayor’s seat two months away, Wellsburg Council agreed on Tuesday to advertise for someone to serve in that capacity in the interim.

The move comes at the recommendation of City Solicitor Ryan Weld, who noted while the city clerk is charged with presiding over council meetings in the mayor’s absence, another city ordinance addresses a permanent vacancy of the office.

Weld referred to Section 10A of the city’s charter, which states the vacancy of any election office should be filled by council within 30 days following a procedure that involves accepting and reviewing applications and interviewing applicants.

City Manager Steve Maguschak said applications for the office will be accepted from today to 4 p.m. April 20, with council expected to review them at a special meeting already set for that day to consider the city’s 2021 budget.

A time hasn’t been set for the meeting.

Applicants must be residents with no felony convictions.

Simonetti, who died on March 31 after serving as mayor for 12 years, had announced her decision not to seek another term in the city’s June 8 election. Since then, 1st Ward Councilman Danny Dudley declared his candidacy for mayor and following the city’s candidate filing period, Timothy A. Ferrari filed as a write-in candidate.

Dudley said he won’t apply for the interim position because he feels it would be unfair to his opponent, though Weld advised it wouldn’t be improper to do so.

“My name’s out of question right now. I don’t want to do it that way,” insisted Dudley.

He said he knows an individual who would be well suited to serve in an interim capacity.

In other business, council joined City Police Chief Richard Ferguson in presenting an award to City Patrolman Jonathan Griffin for actions he said saved the life of a troubled woman.

Ferguson said Griffin and another officer found the woman using a knife to cut her own neck outside the Wellsburg Kroger’s store on March 23. He said when she didn’t respond to orders to drop the knife while continuing to step toward them, Griffin used a stun gun to subdue her.

The chief said Griffin is among the city’s newest officers, joking that the “ink on his contract was not even dry,” and he is proud of his actions.

But he added he believes all of his officers would have acted similarly in the same situation.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)

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