CHAPMANVILLE, W.Va. — Raaimie Barker, a veteran Logan County civic leader and longtime government official for the West Virginia State Senate will take over the reigns as mayor of Chapmanville.
Barker, who has been serving as the town recorder, was appointed at the Chapmanville Town Council meeting Monday, August 8. There was a full agenda at the meeting, which included selecting a new mayor again.
Over the last several months, Chapmanville has seen a turnover in several seats in the town’s government. On May 9, then Mayor Jerry Price Jr., who had served as mayor since 2006, resigned his position due to his having to seek employment out of state. On May 24, Mike Collins was appointed to the position of mayor. On June 13, the seat for town recorder was filled by Raamie Baker, following the resignation of Tammy Hazelett. On July 24, Mayor Mike Collins resigned from his appointed seat.
According to the town’s charter, the town recorder can fulfill the position as mayor until a new mayor takes office which meant that Barker has been fulfilling the position of mayor and town recorder. At Monday’s meeting, Barker presided over the meeting.
Following the approval of minutes from the last council meeting, Barker gave the floor to the three people, Dean Williams, Phillip Williamson Jr., and Jim Quick, who had asked to speak. Williams spoke about the town and volunteered his services as mayor. Williamson spoke on the town’s ordinances on firearms and Quick withdrew his request to speak.
The next order of business was the reading of Collins’ letter of resignation. The motion was to accept his resignation and which was approved.
A motion was made to move Barker from his position as town recorder to fulfill the unexpired term as mayor. The motion was seconded and approved. Barker accepted the position.
“I accept your appointment, thank you very much for your confidence,” Barker said. “My daddy was mayor of Chapmanville years ago and I’m very proud to follow in his shoes and to serve the people in this town. I will do the best I can and will always do what is right.”
Barker then verbally resigned from the position as town recorder position and declared a vacancy for town recorder. Terilyn Wilson was nominated and approved. Wilson also accepted the position.
Barker was given his oath of office by Council member Tony Robison. Barker gave Wilson her oath of office.
Following adjournment of the meeting, the Logan Banner asked Barker his plans as mayor.
“First I want to meet all the city employees… see what they are doing and look at our strengths and weaknesses,” Barker said.
Barker said he wanted to see how to make the general service to taxpayers and businesses better. Barker said there was a serious problem with the town’s B & O (Business and Occupation) taxes.
“There is a lot of arrearage that something is going to have to be done. One problem is that our law is too confusing,” Barker said. “Without revenue, you can’t do anything. We’re keeping pace, but not gaining. We need to reverse that and get money for the government.
“Money is the key to government. To do something you got to have money to do it. We don’t want to raise any taxes on anybody or charge them anymore than what we charge them. We’ll try to live within our means.”
Barker said the problem with the B & O taxes could be indicative of businesses having problems themselves.
“It’s a two sided story. We’ve got to make the town more business oriented and at the same time we have got to be able to help them make the money to pay. It’s a cycle… one leads to the other,” Barker said.
Barker brings experience in working within the government as he recently retired as chief of staff for Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. Barker is also a former journalist having served as editor of the Logan Banner and Williamson Daily News in the past.
Martha Sparks is a reporter and can be reached at 304-752-6950, ext. 1728, or via Twitter at @MarthaSparks.