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UPDATE: Fairmont council passes resolution rebuking Kennedy's actions, requesting resignation

(WDTV)
Published: Jan. 15, 2020 at 1:18 AM EST
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UPDATE 01/28/20 @ 8:00 p.m.

Fairmont councilman Karl David Kennedy refused to resign Tuesday night despite council's request for him to do so.

Council formally considered a resolution rebuking Kennedy for comments he made on Facebook that community members said were racist.

Council also condemned and denounced his actions.

He refused in a statement he read before council and community members who attended the meeting.

At least five citizens expressed their concern for his service to the Fairmont community before council.

The resolution received a majority vote, but council entered into Executive Session as of 8:15 p.m. Tuesday for a final decision.

This story is developing.

UPDATE 01/23/20 @ 11:56 a.m.

The Fairmont Human Rights Commission released an official statement asking for Fairmont City Councilman David Kennedy's resignation after he posted certain comments to Facebook that people claimed to be racist.

The commission says they support the resolution on the agenda for the next City Council meeting on Jan. 28. The resolution on the agenda would rebuke Councilman Karl David Kennedy for his recent derogatory remarks and language on social media, as well as request for his resignation from Council.

The commission is also recommending that all City Council members participate in additional training.

"The Fairmont Human Rights Commission would be happy to offer options and to facilitate such a training," the statement says. "We would also recommend that the training be offered to not only City Council members, but any officials within the city, as well as other elected officials at both the City and County level that would like to participate."

The commission's statement says Kennedy has not followed the public policy set forth in Ordinance 1751.

Citizens and fellow council members addressed their "disgust" with Kennedy's comments at the City Council meeting on Jan. 14.


ORIGINAL STORY

Fairmont city council held their regular scheduled meeting Tuesday night, but a new item was added to the agenda last minute.

Titled the "elephant in the room", councilman David Kennedy received backlash from both citizens and fellow council members after posting certain comments to Facebook that people claimed to be racist.

Councilman Kennedy sat quietly while many took to the podium to address their "disgust" with his comments.

Many who spoke received an applause of appreciation, but the biggest moment of the night was when resident, Samantha Chadwell asked to approach Council Kennedy.

"I walked up to him, I held my hands out and I asked him to hold my hands and look me in the eye and call me the same things he did online. I thought if I approached him and looked him in the eye and asked him to do the same...ya know that maybe he would get a sense of what he's saying."

Although many called for his resignation, councilman Kennedy said in a statement letter "resigning the council seat would be giving up that fight for truth, justice, and the American Way. We cannot do that".

Fairmont Mayor, Brad Merrifield says the meeting was not something he will remember fondly, but is ready move forward towards the future of "the friendly city".

"It was just kind of a sad meeting for me, in the fact that we've got so many positive things going on and there's such energy and there's such great people in the city, but we obviously have a little work to do. So...ya know tomorrow's another day and we'll try to improve upon today and go forward."

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