The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Editorials

June 9, 2013

Mayor’s legacy will be multi-faceted

The legacy of Beckley Mayor Emmett Pugh will be multi-faceted.

What’s going on now isn’t positive. But there are many positive accomplishments in his 34 years in Beckley city government.

Pugh served as Councilman-at-Large for the City of Beckley from 1979 to 1988. He became Mayor in 1988 and has been re-elected at each opportunity since.

We learned this week that he will step down from his mayoral post, effective Dec. 31, as part of a settlement agreement with the West Virginia Ethics Commission.

Folks that know only that much about Beckley’s mayor — or caught the headline or soundbite alone — are missing much of the story however.

It’s important to note that Pugh admits no guilt to the nine ethics violations charges against him. He also has voluntarily agreed to retire as mayor, as well as pay $7,000 reimbursement for the cost of the investigation. Also in the agreement, Pugh has agreed not to hold public office for five years, beginning Jan. 1, 2014.

Pugh says the facts found by the Ethics Commission and the facts found by his counsel were essentially the same, just the interpretation was different. Pugh said that it’s been going on long enough. He doesn’t have the finances or stomach for it anymore.

“This thing has been going on for four years,” he said. “It has become very wearing on me.”

In his final months in office, Pugh said he hopes to see the Comprehensive Plan for the city through, as well as the Beckley Intermodal Gateway project and other ongoing city projects.

The mayor also holds many civic leadership roles, such as his involvement with the United Way of Southern West Virginia and Beckley Area Foundation. He has indicated that he will remain active in those roles.

As Pugh is moving on, it is also time for the City of Beckley to put this aside and move forward.

It’s a bit of a black eye — the negative publicity — to have to deal with now, but there have been too many positives over the past several years to dwell on anything that isn’t moving Beckley forward.

Beckley is doing as well financially as any city its size in the state. It has a wealth of community and business activities that it supports well.

The future here is very bright. We must not lose sight of that.

What happens next in city government is crucial to the future of Beckley. Our hope is that the transition will be handled professionally and productively.

Because the positive momentum that Beckley has enjoyed over the past few decades must not be interrupted or hindered by playing politics.

Because in the end, it’s the legacy of the City of Beckley that matters most.

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • Missing from the show

    If they attended, lawmakers would see strides made by TWV

    July 31, 2014

  • VA breakthrough

    Compromise shows Congress can put partisanship aside for the proper cause

    July 30, 2014

  • Doughnut holes

    Annexation benefits outweigh the taxes

    July 29, 2014

  • The play’s the thing

    TWV twins reveal local riches that can’t be found anywhere else

    July 27, 2014

  • Primary care

    DHHR program weans folks away from the ER

    July 24, 2014

  • Rain? What Rain?

    Community still enjoys auto fair despite uncooperative weather

    July 23, 2014

  • Do tell

    It’s hard to keep a secret in today’s here-a-camera, there-a-camera, everywhere-a-camera world. Whatever one does that is embarrassing is immediately posted on YouTube, Facebook or other social media of choice.

    July 22, 2014

  • Juvenile justice

    West Virginia nearly doubled the rate it sent youths to juvenile facilities from 1997 to 2011, in contrast to declining rates of youthful incarceration elsewhere in the United States.

    July 20, 2014

  • Thumbs — Saturday, July 19, 2014

    July 19, 2014

  • Do something

     Johnstown police have charged three men in the brutal murder early Sunday of a city academy student.

    July 18, 2014