Dunbar mayor seeks outster of city council member

By Cara Bailey | Aug 15, 2007

CHARLESTON - The mayor of Dunbar has filed a petition, seeking to have one of the city council members removed because she is a member of a state agency that provides grants and loans.

Roger Wolfe, with attorney Michael T. Clifford, filed the injunction Aug. 2 in Kanawha Circuit Court against Michelle Lynn Wilshere.

Wilshere was elected in 2005 as a member of the Dunbar City Council, representing the city's Second Ward. Wilshere is also an employee of the West Virginia Housing Development Fund, a public body of the Executive Branch of West Virginia.

According to the petition, members of the Housing Development Fund are paid by, and participate in the, Public Employees Retirement System of the State of West Virginia.

The petition says the West Virginia Housing Development Fund received $5,322,981 in federal grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Wolfe claims, under the Hatch Act, that "Congress restricts political activity of individuals employed by state, county or municipal executive agencies in connection with programs financed in whole or in part by loans or grants made by the United States or a federal agency and any employee covered by the Act may not be a candidate for public office in a partisan election."

In the injunction, Wolfe seeks to have Wilshere and any actions she takes as a member of the Dunbar City Council, rendered null and void, that the court order her office to be vacated, and that she re-pay the city any salary, benefits or allotments paid to her for the period of time in question.

The case has been assigned to Judge James Stucky.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 07-C-1609

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