Berkeley County Council members sworn in

January 03, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |
  • New Berkeley County Council members James "Jim" Whitacre, left, Doug Copenhaver Jr. and Elaine Mauck meet the public after being sworn in Monday in Martinsburg, W.Va.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Retired educator Elaine Mauck on Monday became the first woman to be seated on the Berkeley County’s budget-balancing board, which increased from three to five members and on Jan. 1 officially became the Berkeley County Council.

Mauck, along with fellow new council members Doug Copenhaver Jr. and James “Jim” Whitacre, were individually sworn into office Monday by County Clerk John W. Small Jr.

“History is being made right here in Berkeley County today,” Small told a near-capacity crowd gathered in the county council meeting room for the swearing-in ceremonies.

Mauck said Monday was a great day for Berkeley County women.

“All the years that I have been a champion for ladies sports, I didn’t realize that after I retired that I’d be the first lady for county council. I thought someone else would step forward, but it didn’t happen until now, so I am very tickled with it,” the former physical education teacher said.

Known as the county court from the state’s formation until 1975 and then as the county commission, the name change to county council and increase from three to five members was approved in 2008 by county voters, Small said.

In addition to swearing in Circuit Clerk Virginia M. Sine and Assessor Patricia “Patsy” Kilmer, Small also presided over the organization of the council, which voted 3-1 to have the board’s senior member, William L. “Bill” Stubblefield, serve as county council president for 2011.

Mauck voted against Whitacre’s motion to nominate Stubblefield, who replaced Ronald K. Collins as president. Collins was not re-elected last year after serving a six-year term, which ended Friday.

Anthony J. “Tony” Petrucci, who seconded the motion to nominate Stubblefield as council president, was unanimously elected to serve as council vice president, a position the council created Monday in the special session. No other members were nominated and there was no discussion.

When asked about the timing and legality of the swearing-in ceremonies, Small said county elected officials previously had taken the oath of office just before terms of office expire, but noted objections were raised so no one was sworn in until Monday. Small, who was elected to a seventh term in November, was not sworn in until after he had every other elected official take their respective oath of office.

After Stubblefield adjourned the meeting, Small was sworn in by Sine off to one side of the council meeting room while people who attended the ceremonies talked, congratulated council members and took photographs to commemorate the occasion.

Legal counsel Norwood Bentley III, when questioned about the legality of Monday’s ceremony given that Small had not been sworn into office beforehand, said he would have to research the issue.

While “honored” to serve as council president, Stubblefield said after the meeting that he would continue to respect the views of every member.

“All of our opinions carry just as much weight and I honor everyone’s opinion,” Stubblefield said.

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