Morgantown citizens attempting to recall entire city council

Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 5:49 PM EDT
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - A group of Morgantown residents are petitioning to recall the entire city council.

The recallers believe the city council is not concerned with public safety.

They’re blaming the city council for low morale among the police and fire departments.

Morgantown citizens have been attending city council meetings regularly calling for the council to address the concerns of first responders, particularly the police department.

Now, some of them are drafting petitions in an effort to try and recall the council members.

Todd Stainbrook is one of the group’s organizers. He says the council’s decisions are further straining the understaffed department.

“The policies within the city council to pay for our police department has the police department at an all time low for morale and the city council doesn’t seem to care,” Stainbrook said.

Two things Stainbrook says he thinks are contributing to that low morale are issued with comp time as well a battle with the council over forming a citizens review board to monitor the police.

Stainbrook says the council has been sued in the past for what he calls a general disregard of citizen concerns.

He says if people don’t feel safe in Morgantown, it won’t just be the first responders leaving.

“Safety is not their agenda. They’re more concerned about crosswalks and flowers and paintings which are all great to beautify the city, but there’s no reason to beautify the city if you have no population,” said Stainbrook.

Stainbrook says the growing group will be canvassing over the next two months.

In order for a recall to be enacted, the need 4,000 signatures, which is 20% of the people who voted in the last election.

“They should take it seriously,” Stainbrook said. “The citizens are fed up. We’re tired of information falling on deaf ears. We’re tired of asking … the citizens need an opportunity to stand up for themselves and when something is not right, do something about it, and that is what we’re doing. So yes, they should take it very seriously. We’re not going away. We’ll get the signatures and we’ll be there.”

According to the city charter, if the recall succeeds and all 7 council members are recalled, those seats will remain vacant until a special election is held.

5 News reached out to all council members, the police department and the city clerk but have yet to receive any official statement.

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