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Woods sworn in to Martinsburg City Council

Persad resigns

December 21, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A few minutes after Rodney Woods was sworn in as a Martinsburg city councilman Thursday night, Councilwoman Shari Persad formally announced her resignation.

Woods, 60, was one of 16 people who expressed interest in completing the unexpired term of Donald Anderson, who resigned due to health reasons.

"It was humbling for me to sit in Mr. Anderson's seat," Woods said after the special meeting ended.

Woods said he has not decided whether he would seek a four-year term next year. The candidate filing period for city office is in February.

Persad, who represented residents in Ward 1 since July 2004, declined to elaborate on the resignation letter, which indicated she would step down effective Dec. 31.

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"I have strived to serve Ward 1 to the best of my ability and want to thank all the community for their support," Persad said in the letter "I have met some wonderful and caring people in my ward and hope that I have been able to help them with their concerns."

Karos announced those who reside in Ward 1 of the city have until Jan. 11 at 5 p.m. to submit letters of interest and rsums to City Recorder Sharon Flick. Persad's replacement could be announced at the council meeting scheduled for Jan. 17, Karos said.

Only six months from completing her term in June 2008, Persad was notified last week by the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia that she was not permitted to serve on council while employed as Berkeley County Magistrate JoAnn Overington's assistant.

"We're sorry to see her leaving," Karos said after Thursday's meeting. "But the law is the law ...We took an oath to uphold (it)."

A Supreme Court spokeswoman said Wednesday that when employees are hired, they receive copies of the West Virginia Judicial Personnel System Manual, which outlines limitations on "outside employment" while working in the state judicial system.

Council members are compensated $200 per month, and a court spokeswoman said she was not allowed to hold an executive branch office while employed by the judicial branch because it posed a potential conflict of interest.

Persad declined to comment when asked if she actually received the manual, then rose from her seat and walked out of council chambers.

In her letter, however, Persad said she hoped to stay involved with the city.

"I have asked the administrative office of the West Virginia Supreme Court to research the possibility of my being able to be appointed to a position on either the City Planning Commission or the Board of Zoning Appeals," Persad said in the letter.

Ward I comprises areas south of West King Street and generally west of West Virginia Avenue.

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