The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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November 18, 2013

3 candidates seek Beckley’s interim mayor position

With Beckley Mayor Emmett Pugh’s tenure soon coming to an end, three individuals have submitted resumes with hopes of filling the interim position.

The applicants are two Beckley Common Council members, Cedric Robertson and Ann Worley, and well-known WJLS radio personality Bill O’Brien.

Robertson, a Woodrow Wilson High School graduate, said as mayor, he would “ensure Beckley remains the economic hub of our region.”

He said he would also implement programs to improve the business environment and improve life for citizens and visitors.

Robertson has served as councilman-at-large since June 2007 and is a retired captain of the Beckley Police Department.

He started out as a cadet back in May 1975 at the BPD, and worked his way up through the ranks of patrolman, detective corporal, detective sergeant, lieutenant, chief of detectives and captain.

Robertson has been a member of the YMCA Board of Directors, Multi-Cultural Center Board, East Beckley Midget Football League Board of Directors and vice president of the Beckley Little League.

Worley has served as councilwoman of Ward II since 2004 and describes herself as a “passionate, visionary and challenge-driven professional.”

She said in her personal statement that she has demonstrated the ability and knowledge to keep Beckley financially secure, while providing leadership to move the city progressively forward.

Worley was selected to chair the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee, and she is the president-elect of the West Virginia Municipal League.

She also serves as chair of the recreation committee and is a member of the planning commission.  

Worley is involved with a host of city departments, and she said she is committed to serving Beckley citizens.

Bill O’Brien, a Beckley resident for most of his life, has served the city in several ways, including as a Beckley Fire Department civil service commissioner, as chair of a downtown improvement committee and as a promotions partner with several city events during his tenure at WJLS.

“I feel with my experience as a communicator, a successful Beckley businessman with an excellent reputation for honesty and integrity, and now with my retirement earlier this year, I could work well with you all to handle the challenges of city government,” O’Brien said in his vision letter.

“I have no business, partnerships or family involvements, so I could devote the full energy to the mayor’s job.”

O’Brien, also a Woodrow Wilson High School graduate, has served as a member on the board of directors for the Beckley Area Foundation, West Virginia Broadcasters Education Foundation and has volunteered as an emcee for many annual events.

He said as interim mayor, he would focus on fully staffing the police department and making sure the manpower is utilized to its fullest potential, improving police headquarters and equipment, revitalizing Uptown Beckley and fixing “the hole,” expanding city limits to include the “doughnut holes” and collect B&O taxes, and increasing salaries for city departments, especially public works and the police department.

Pete Torrico, vice president of Mac’s Toy Fund and a past president of the Beckley Area Foundation Board of Directors, initially submitted a letter of interest to become interim mayor, but has since dropped out of the running.

The vote to elect an interim mayor must be a majority vote by Council and the interim mayor will serve until the 2016 elections.

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