CHARLESTON - Six members of the Dunbar City Council have filed a petition in Kanawha Circuit Court seeking to have the town's mayor removed from office.
Council members Tom Bailey, Connie Boardman, Fred Chiles, Janet Nelson, Fred Slaymaker and Michelle Wilshere filed the petition Feb. 7 against Mayor Roger Wolfe.
According to the petition, they want Wolfe removed for "official misconduct, malfeasance in office, incompetence, neglect of duty, and for clear violations of the city's charter provision, the city's ordinances and West Virginia law."
Wolfe claims the petition is because of personal disagreements he has had with some members of the council, which go back to July 2005 and his first city council meeting as mayor.
"A couple of them have personal vendettas towards one or two appointments I made," Wolfe said. "They wanted to make it a public personal issue and I would not allow that. All that is between me and council."
Wolfe and members of the council have had an ongoing dispute over who has final say concerning town business. Wolfe insists that he has executive power because he is the mayor. Council members believe the city charter gives them the last word.
"I don't think that's true," Wolfe said concerning the council having the final say. "If that's the case, then why have a mayor? Why does state law state that I am the chief executive power of the state municipality?"
The dispute between Wolfe and the council began to create more public notice after Wolfe changed the pay classification of four city workers after the council refused to give them a pay raise.
Wolfe reclassified them from salaried to hourly employees and agreed to pay them overtime, which gave them more pay than before.
Wolfe pointed out that the filed petition will cost the taxpayers more than double of what was originally spent on the overtime pay. He claims he paid the four employees a total of $3,100 for four months of overtime.
In an invoice sent by the attorney hired by the council, the lawyer is seeking $7,200 for 17 days of work.
Wolfe said the town's attorney told council he could settle the dispute for $145, before they hired another attorney.
"I can assure that I will fight all the way to the Supreme Court not to pay the attorney fees for the six council members," Wolfe said.
Wolfe also said that he is not leaving office and will seek re-election when his term is complete next year.
No member of the city council was willing to comment.