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City Council looks to fill Idoni's seat

March 03, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - The City of Martinsburg is seeking people interested in taking over the Ward 5 City Council seat held by Frank Idoni, who has pleaded guilty to a felony drug charge and will resign.

Interested residents should submit a letter of interest or resume to the city recorder's office by March 25.

Mayor George Karos said Wednesday that members of the City Council will review materials from all of the applicants and then select Idoni's successor.

He said he's not sure when that will happen, but he said it could be in April.

Party affiliation likely will play little or no role in selecting Idoni's replacement, Karos said.

Idoni was a Republican, while Karos and five of the six Council members are Democrats. Shari Knadler Persad is the only woman and only Republican on the Council.

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"It would be my guess (that City Council will do) what's been done in the best. The most qualified person (will be appointed)," Karos said. "I always vote for the person, not the party."

Four people have asked to be considered so far, Karos said.

City Council seats have needed to be filled at times other than at an election in the past, including once when a Council member resigned and once when a Council member moved to a house outside of the city's limits, said city Recorder Sharon Flick.

Whoever takes over the seat will fill out the remainder of Idoni's four-year term.

Idoni, 47, of 112 Union Ave., was elected last June to represent the city's Ward 5 residents. He was elected by a 49-45 vote, defeating incumbent Glenville Twigg.

Not long after he was elected, residents began to file complaints with the Martinsburg Police Department, saying that Idoni was walking around his neighborhood carrying a baseball bat and berating people.

He was charged with a misdemeanor count of battery in October 2004 after he allegedly punched and spit on a teenager whom he felt was driving recklessly near his house.

In January, Idoni was charged with two felony counts of delivery of a controlled substance. Police allege that he sold two prescription Fentanyl patches to a police informant for $200 each.

Fentanyl is prescribed to help alleviate chronic pain.

Last month, Idoni pleaded guilty to one of the drug charges, and pleaded no contest to the battery charge. The remaining drug charge was dismissed as part of a plea bargain.

As part of the plea bargain, Idoni agreed to resign from his seat. State code declares that any officeholder who is convicted of a felony must forfeit the right to hold the seat, attorney Andy Blake has previously told the City Council.

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