Richwood, WV – For the first time since last Friday, the Richwood City Council met in regular session on Thursday, April 4, 2019.
Among an audience of more than 70 people, the city council discussed various subjects, for example, their solicitation for Mayor Chris Drennen’s resignation, former mayor Bob Henry Baber’s effect on the town, the 189-page case report drafted by State Auditor McCuskey, and the total earnings given to a select few amid the 2016 flood relief.
To start the meeting, an opening prayer was led by councilwoman Sherry Chapman.
Not long after, from that point onward, Mayor Chris Drennen, who was absolutely dismayed, asked the chamber, “Do you really believe that I did something wrong?” The council remained calm; they had no answer.
Following a couple of moments of silence, in light of Mayor Drennen’s inquiry, councilwoman Robin Brown expressed, “When I called for your resignation, it had nothing to do with you as a person, but I felt it was in the best interest for the city that you stepped down from your position.” Subsequent to Brown’s response, a number of spectators concurred with her. Notwithstanding, many couldn’t help but oppose Robin Brown, as well.
Councilman Glen Weiler, who sat directly to the left of Mayor Drennen, told the gathering of people, “I regret voting for removal,” later including, “In the United States, we still have the rule of law. A person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.” Mr. Weiler was exceptionally distrustful of the State Auditor’s case report, saying, “I read the entire case report, it just doesn’t seem all there to me.”
Councilman Glen Weiler didn’t neglect to make reference to previous mayor Bob Henry Baber’s name. Weiler denounced everything Baber did, however, he conceded that, while Baber was under investigation for impeachment, he trusted Baber was innocent until demonstrated otherwise. In spite of the fact that he censured Baber’s activities, he remained on Drennen’s side the whole time.
After that, the subject swung to the ICS group that was shaped amid the 2016 flood alleviation. “There were a ton of dedicated volunteers, a great deal of non-paid volunteers, that put their heart and soul into this town,” an onlooker told the committee.
“I worked 20 hours a day after the flood, I barely got to see my daughter,” Drennen answered. She started to get emotional after recalling the flood, later including, “I’ve never asked this city for reimbursement. I’m not going to resign, I think we need to come together.”
The point of convergence at that point changed from Drennen to a man named Jon Cox. After the 2016 flood, Jon Cox came to Richwood to help the town to recoup. In the State Auditor’s case report, it’s expressed that Jon Cox got over $130,000 subsequent to helping the town recover.
Regarding Cox, another resident of Richwood asked the council, “Can anyone on the council say they knew exactly how much the people on the ICS team, such as Jon Cox, made? “I wasn’t aware that he made that much,” councilwoman Robin Brown reacted. “I never served in public office before this, I was brand new, and truly didn’t know or was aware of what was actually going on,” another councilmember added.
When asked about terminating former police chief Lloyd Allen Cogar, the council said they don’t lament their choice to fire him. They continued to support Mayor Drennen, expressing that they mentioned her acquiescence as a push to get more assistance from the state government.
Councilman Weiler stated, “We, as a council, cooperated with the state and with Governor Jim Justice’s people.” Weiler later remarked that in the wake of taking a gander at the report, he trusts the state missed the point and he’ll continue to support Mayor Chris Drennen.
Amid the city council session on Thursday, many were left completely shocked, many left the meeting early, and pretty much every individual in participation felt mixed emotions about the whole situation.
The council members rescinded their vote in favor of Drennen’s resignation and asked that the residents from Richwood remain associated with the investigation and continue adding to the betterment of the town.
Mayor Chris Drennen has a preliminary hearing on April 11, 2019.