Town council discusses calls for Councilman Everhart’s resignation
SHEPHERDSTOWN — The Corporation of Shepherdstown’s monthly town council held its first Zoom video conference meeting on Tuesday night.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the timeline for when events can be scheduled in the future is uncertain. The town council meeting was therefore mostly focused on the community’s response to the information Progressive Jefferson has publicized about Councilman Mark Everhart, which led him to suspend his campaign for a West Virginia House of Delegates seat in the upcoming election.
“The only person missing tonight is Mark Everhart, and he sent in an email,” said Mayor Jim Auxer, as he began the meeting.
Everhart emailed Auxer an explanation for why he chose to not attend the April meeting, which Auxer read to those in attendance at the meeting.
“There are no agenda items and thus no votes to have for this meeting. Wildly false accusations about my past have been leveled against me, by a hate group of far-left extremists,” Everhart wrote.
Everhart addressed the calls for his resignation from the town council, citing rules in the West Virginia Code protecting his stance.
“I will continue to serve in my role on the town council in Shepherdstown until my term is over on June 30,” Everhart wrote. “I am extremely proud of my work on the town council and as a member of various committees. I will look forward to attending May and June’s council meetings, where we can get back to the important job of helping Shepherdstown recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Auxer then read statements from seven community members about their desire for Everhart to resign from the town council, and if he would not do so, for the town council to remove him. However, according to Auxer and the Corporation of Shepherdstown’s attorney, Everhart cannot be removed for his criminal or internet history, because it preceded his term on the town council. Removing him would violate the West Virginia Code.
“That obviously puts the council in a tough situation that’s disconcerting,” Auxer said. “I read the comments and the legal standard that we can go by. It’s unfortunate we don’t have any questions we can ask Mr. Everhart, since he didn’t come to today’s meeting.”
The town council discussed if they should return to addressing the community’s questions about Everhart in the future.
“He has only two more meetings with this current elected council. If he doesn’t attend either one of our next meetings, then I guess that would be the end of it. Effectively he’s resigned himself, since he’s removed himself from this public forum. Maybe not officially. But unofficially. Because he wouldn’t be returning to anymore of the council meetings,” said councilman David Rosen, mentioning he hopes Everhart attends one of the remaining meetings in his term, so the questions about his decisions submitted by community members to the town council can be answered.
“We need Mark here, because we need him to say that he performed these accused actions,” Rosen said.
The town council publicly declared they do not condone any of the remarks allegedly made by Everhart online.
The town council agreed with Rosen. They also announced that absentee ballot applications are being mailed to every Shepherdstown resident, to encourage the continuation of social distancing through West Virginia’s July 21 election.