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Town council hears concerns over councilman, announces parade cancellation

By Staff | May 15, 2020

SHEPHERDSTOWN — On Tuesday evening, 19 community members logged into the Zoom video platform for the May town council meeting.

Councilman Mark Everhart was present for the meeting, which he had been absent from in April. This was the first meeting he had attended since he had withdrawn from his race for a seat in the West Virginia House of Representatives, following the publication of questionable social media posts allegedly created by Everhart on the Progressive Jefferson Facebook page. Questions for Everhart had been submitted to the town council before and during the meeting, and were read by Mayor Jim Auxer.

“Can you either confirm that you made those statements or that these were your social media accounts? Thank you, in advance, for being honest,” wrote Gabriel Leyshon, of Shepherdstown.

A second community member’s comment questioned Everhart’s absence from the April meeting, and asked him to officially remove himself from the town council before his term ends on June 30.

Everhart declined to comment on any questions asked.

“No. I don’t care what Gabe or Mike or Matt think — I think we can move on,” Everhart said. “I’ve made a written statement! That’s all that needs to be said. That’s all that will be said.”

Following the public comment period, the town council unanimously agreed to reappoint Jim Gatz as Shepherdstown’s representative to the Jefferson County Development Authority. A letter stating this decision will be mailed to the JCDA, Auxer said.

According to Councilwoman Deb Tucker, Gatz has been an effective emissary between the JCDA and Shepherdstown’s businesses.

“Jim has been a big help to us smaller businesses to navigate the JCDA,” Tucker said. “He’s done an admirable job to help our community, and we are very grateful for his work.”

Auxer announced that the Public Works Department has been busy working on the Market House restoration project. The brick walls of the building, which currently houses the Shepherdstown Public Library, have been restored over the past week. The remaining parts of the project, painting the building and fixing its roof, will be completed over the next few weeks.

Unfortunately, Auxer also had some sad news to share with the town.

“We’re canceling the Fourth of July parade,” Auxer said, mentioning this was due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. “I’m sorry to say that, but after consulting with the Shepherdstown Rotary Club and Peter Smith, we’re canceling the Fourth of July parade.”