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Councilman Idoni says he won't resign

November 12, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - Embattled Martinsburg City Council member Frank Idoni said Thursday he has no intention of stepping down despite pressure from other City Council members that he resign.

Idoni said he ran for the council with plans of cleaning up his neighborhood and he thinks progress is being made now that he is tackling problems such as deteriorating properties.

"Am I going to resign? No. They're not going to run me out," Idoni said in a telephone interview Thursday.

During a Martinsburg City Council meeting Wednesday night, Mayor George Karos called on Idoni to resign, saying controversy surrounding the newly elected council member has created a "negative reflection on our city."

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Karos asked for Idoni's resignation in a statement he read aloud. Karos said council members were aware of the issues that have arisen from Idoni's actions and do not condone them.

Karos said the city and the City Council "cannot continue to tolerate" Idoni's actions, and Karos said he wanted to apologize for the "embarrassment" Idoni has caused to Martinsburg.

Council members unanimously supported Karos' statement.

In explaining his refusal to resign, Idoni talked Thursday about his interest in cleaning up his neighborhood and how he tried to get help from city officials on issues he was interested in before he was elected.

Idoni said when he asked for help, he "would get the brushoff."

Idoni said he called his local council member for two years and never got a return phone call. Idoni defeated 14-year council member Glenville Twigg by four votes in the June 8 election.

Now that he is on the council, Idoni said he has been walking block-by-block in his neighborhood, "writing up code violations as I see them."

Idoni said he turns the violations over to the city's code enforcement officer.

"My neighborhood looks 1,000 percent better, in my opinion," Idoni said.

Karos said previously that he has tried to talk to Idoni about the importance of not taking the law into his own hands.

Idoni said he thinks some of the negative reaction toward him can be attributed to the fact that problems are being brought to light.

"People are happier that it's looking better," said Idoni, referring to his neighborhood.

Controversy began shortly after Idoni was elected. According to Martinsburg Police Department reports, Idoni was seen by several people walking up and down his neighborhood at night carrying a baseball bat, yelling at people and making threats.

From June 15 to Aug. 8, five formal complaints were filed against Idoni.

Local business owners and residents complained at a City Council meeting that Idoni has an abrasive, threatening and argumentative attitude. Last month, Idoni was charged with spitting on and punching a teenager during a fight.

Karos had little reaction to Idoni's statements Thursday.

Karos said the statement he read Wednesday night is about all that needs to be said.

"We have a right to our beliefs," Karos said.

Next move


If Idoni does not resign, council members will probably wait to see what happens with a petition that was filed with the city in an attempt to remove Idoni from office, Karos said.

"That's about the only alternative we have," he said.

A petition containing 175 signatures and asking that Idoni be removed from office was given to council members on Oct. 14.

The first step in considering the petition is to make sure the people who signed it are city residents and are registered to vote. City Recorder Sharon Flick is conducting that work, Karos said.

The petition will be given to the chief circuit judge for this area, who will forward it to the state Supreme Court. Supreme Court justices will appoint a panel of judges to oversee the matter and decide what action, if any, to take, said Claudia Bentley, the city's attorney.

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