Keyser seal

KEYSER, W.Va. — Keyser City Council members voted Wednesday to add Curtis Perry to their ranks, as well as appoint Jeff Broadwater as part-time city administrator.

The council meeting was closed to the public due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 in Mineral County, but was livestreamed to the city’s Facebook page.

Of a pool of four applicants considered for the city administrator role, Councilman Jim Hannas said that they had come up with “some real gems, as far as I’m concerned.”

Of the four, Hannas said council members felt the best qualified was Broadwater, who currently works as the assistant director of the Garrett County government finance office. He has also served as the city’s accountant since 2014, Hannas said.

The motion to appoint Broadwater was unanimous.

“I think that’s an excellent choice,” Mayor Damon Tillman said of the council’s selection, noting how Broadwater has answered questions he’s had after hours in the past.

The council unexpectedly voted 3-2 to remove former city administrator Amanda Brafford, who held the position full-time, from the role in August. Tillman declined to select someone himself, and instead placed the onus on the council.

Perry replaces former Councilman William Zacot, who resigned in September.

Tillman said the council’s request for letters applying for the role netted two from former candidates, Elwood Junkins and James Lough. Junkins received 32 votes in the August election and Lough 19.

Tillman proposed to the board that they appoint Junkins, who is the husband of current Councilwoman Jennifer Junkins. However, the council ultimately selected Perry, who received the fourth-most votes in the election.

Junkins was his selection, Tillman said, because “Elwood has, I guess, for the past seven or eight years hasn’t missed but maybe three or four meetings, and I’d venture to say that’s because of illness or sickness. Other than that, he’s been to all the meetings. Someone might say ‘Well, that’s because his wife is on,’ but that doesn’t matter. That doesn’t mean he has to come. He shows interest, he participates.”

Despite Hannas making a motion to accept Tillman’s suggestion, it died when neither Councilmen Mike Ryan nor Billy Meek seconded it. Jennifer Junkins recused herself.

Both Junkins and Perry are qualified for the role, Meek said, but because of the amount of votes he received, he felt Perry should be appointed.

“I think that’s the right thing to do,” Meek said before making the motion in Perry’s favor.

Perry was not present at Wednesday’s meeting.

The council meets next on Dec. 9 at 6 p.m.

Lindsay Renner-Wood is a reporter for the Cumberland Times-News, covering West Virginia and more. Follow her on Twitter @LindsayRenWood, email or call 304-639-4403.

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