Sistersville Third Ward residents Phil Konopacky and Mark Klages were unanimously appointed to the two open Third Ward seats at the Dec. 9 Sistersville Council meeting. Those seats have been open since Sept. 9, when Mayor Ann Doig left her council position to complete the term of former Mayor Dave Fox, and since Oct. 15, when council accepted Jason Hood's resignation.
At the Nov. 12 regular meeting, Mayor Doig announced that they were extending the deadline for residents to express interest for an additional two weeks following the meeting. She stated that a personnel committee would meet thereafter to determine the eligibility of those applying.
When the Tyler Star News spoke with Doig on Dec. 2, nearly a week after the expired deadline to express interest, she explained that three of five people who expressed interest had dropped out, leaving only Klages and Konopacky to be considered for appointment. However, prior to the vote on Dec. 9, Doig brought before council the name of a third person, Herman Wells, who was interested in taking a Third Ward seat.
"At the meeting you had two weeks after the last meeting, how many people did you come up with for council?" asked Third Ward resident Jim King.
"I had five," she said. "Two dropped out."
"I had the understanding there were two (interested)," he said. "Did that change?"
"We have two seats available in the Third Ward right now," she said. "Then it was in the paper and people called and asked if they could be considered."
"But you had the (personnel committee) meeting two weeks after the last meeting," he said. "Who had that meeting to qualify people who wanted to be appointed? At that meeting, how many people did they vet or qualify?"
"All five qualified," she said. "Because all five lived in the city for more than six months, lived in the state for more than one year, and were registered voters. That's the qualifications to run for council."
"And you had all of those (candidates) two weeks after (the last regular meeting)?" he asked. "Who were the council members to do the qualifying? There was going to be a meeting two weeks after our last meeting. Who did that?"
"We never could get enough council people together to do it," she said.
Councilman Bill Rice later told the Star News that Mayor Doig did not ask him to be on the committee. He stated that he would have served on it if asked.
"So you didn't have the meeting?" asked King.
"No," Doig finally revealed.
The Tyler Star News asked Doig for the exact dates when each of those candidates expressed interest.
"They had up until the council meeting to do it," she said, contradicting the period of time she established at the Nov. 12 meeting.
The Tyler Star News asked why she did not reveal Wells' interest as a candidate when the paper asked her for the names on Dec. 2.
"I can't argue with you about when I talked to you or what I said," she said. "I try to keep track of everything that's going on in this city. It's not easy. These people live here and they have a right to do it, and that's it."
When asked if she also recently told Phil Konopacky that only he and Klages were interested as of the cutoff date, she said she had not done so. Konopacky told the Star News otherwise, stating that Doig explained to him after that time period that only he and Klages were still up for consideration.
After some confusion regarding how council should vote to appoint two out of the three Third Ward representatives, Councilman Rice explained that each councilman should vote by bringing forth the names of who they would like to join council. Each councilman named Klages and Konopacky, and the new council members were then sworn onto council by Doig.
Also at the meeting, Mayor Doig read a letter, citing its date as Nov. 15:
"I regret to inform you that effective immediately I am resigning my seat on the city council. Due to the outrageously unfair treatment of our city government by the local paper and a few very local hostile minority of individuals, I feel I can no longer fairly represent the citizens of our community. Thank you, Bill Schleier."
Council unanimously accepted Bill Schleier's resignation from his position on council representing the Fourth Ward. He was appointed to the seat on May 13, 2013.