PARKERSBURG - Confusion over whether a member of the Parkersburg Police Civil Service Commission actually resigned this week has led city officials to move forward with a court petition to have him removed.
Mayor Bob Newell reported Thursday commission members Robert Campbell and Joe Gonzales had resigned from the commission and new members would be named shortly. Newell sent letters to the two members earlier this week, stating his intention to file a petition with Wood County Circuit Court to have them removed. Newell called the commission "grossly dysfunctional" and accused the two of "multiple intentional and dishonest acts" designed to cause issues for the city police department and administration and which resulted in more than a quarter million dollars in court costs for the city.
Fraternal Order Police President Chris Morehead said Friday morning Gonzales remains a member of the commission.
"We elected Mr. Gonzales to that term, and until he notifies me as to his resignation or until we elect to remove him, he is still in that position," Morehead said.
Morehead said he spoke to Gonzales Friday morning and was told he had not filed a resignation.
Morehead also questioned whether Campbell had resigned, but said he did not know.
"The only position we handle is Mr. Gonzales and we have not received any notification of his resignation," Morehead said.
Both Gonzales and Campbell have not returned repeated calls seeking comment.
Newell said he had received word of Gonzales' resignation through several lawyers, but said he now will file the petition Monday to have him removed. The petition also includes Campbell, but Newell said he is confident Campbell has resigned. Officials with the Parkersburg City Clerk's office said Friday no written letter of resignation has yet been filed by Campbell.
"This is exactly the kind of thing we've been dealing with for months," Newell said, adding the decision to remove or keep Gonzales "is not within the FOP's purview. By law once the letter was sent, they (Gonzales and Campbell) were removed, and then circuit court approves the petition after. The FOP also cannot go and appoint the same person again."
Newell announced Friday he had appointed Parkersburg attorney George Zivkovich to fill Campbell's position. Zivkovich has served as contracted counsel for the Parkersburg Utility Board, but is not a member of the board, Newell said.
Newell said he received written notice Friday the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley had appointed former councilman and Parkersburg businessman Tom Joyce to the commission. Joyce replaced Doug Kreinik who formally resigned Wednesday after serving two years on the Police Civil Service Commission.
Kreinik was not part of the letter of notification sent to the other two members, was not included in the petition and has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
Newell said it is still up to the FOP to appoint a third member.
"Hopefully they will do the right thing and appoint someone that will be unbiased and follow the law," Newell said. "That's all we're asking."
Morehead said the FOP's stance with Gonzales is about the procedure.
"We just want to make sure everything is done legally, fairly and that the requirements of the law are met," Morehead said.