Piedmont: When Will Hall Resign?
At the City Council meeting held on April 11, 2012, many were asking the question: when will Ray Hall resign from the council? During this meeting, Councilwoman Freda Fisher announced that she was going to use her “allotted time for discussion” about Hall’s desired resignation. Fisher also said that she was “elected to put before Mr. Hall if he would voluntarily resign instead of waiting for [Council] lawyer to come by next week.”
Looking at Hall, Fisher said, “In light of everything that’s happened, um, we’ve had more than enough so we’re just asking you to just plain resign instead of having to go through the lawyer.”
Hall responded, “I have no intention of doing that until the appeal is done.”
She said, “Now the appeal for your extortion of which has nothing to do with us.”
“None of it has anything to do with this,” Hall replied.
Fisher then stated, “This definitely reflects on your character and how this council looks.”
Hall’s response was, “Well, I hope you keep that in mind.”
Fisher asked of Hall, “So you are going to insist we go through our lawyer, all the appeals?…We’ll be here next week to dismiss you from the council.”
Mayor Lestor (Skip) Clifford then looked at Mr. Hall and stated, “On the grounds of what Freda’s talking about, on the grounds to remove you from the council, since you don’t want to resign, I think we just have to wait until the lawyer comes next week if..to let you know that you must resign or he must give you a letter to get you off the council. So if that’s way you want to do it, that’s the way we’ll have to do it.”
Hall replied, “I have nothing to add.”
The Mayor stated, “If you want to sit there and tell me that you don’t want to resign, then I have no motions…We’ll vote you off the council, that’s all I got to say.”
Later on in the meeting, the Mayor asked the crowd if they had anything to say or add. One female citizen stood and looked at Hall. “I have a personal animosity towards anybody, but I cannot understand, Ray, why when a town has come to you and said that they don’t want you and the council has said they don’t want you. No matter what the circumstances I cannot understand why you would keep pushing to be here. I mean, how can you work against that animosity and feel that you are doing a good job?”
“Well,” Hall said, “I see twenty people here. There are nine hundred people in this town.”
She responded, “…With the town pushing this hard, why would you still want to continue be here?…I can’t understand.”
Hall said, “I hope you keep that same sense of outrage and attitude when the other shoe drops. That’s all I’m gonna tell you.”
The Mayor eventually stated, “We asked Ray to resign. Ray wouldn’t resign, okay? Alright, alright. Now he wants to wait for the next meeting, okay? Okay, the next meeting when we show the facts and everything and when the lawyer is here and we should ask him why we want him to resign. Now that’s what it is, and Ray can go from here and do whatever he wants to. I don’t care where he goes, but when we get the facts and the lawyer’s here and he asks Ray to resign, Ray should resign. If he don’t want to resign, we’ll take him off the council.”
After the meeting, when asked how he felt about the both the Council and the citizens awaiting his dismissal, Hall said, “Everybody has some sort of past, but my past has nothing to do with my duties here…I believe that two months from now, most of them won’t be here. Things are going to get real interesting around here and it has nothing to do with me.”
At the following meeting on April 25, 2012, the Mayor started out by asking the crowd of over twenty citizens from the town of Piedmont and nearby area if they had anything to say about the case against Ray Hall. When no one spoke up, the Mayor said, “I guess it’s up to me to speak on it.”
“We tried very hard to get Ray Hall off the council. We went to our lawyer, Carskadon, and since Carskadon had, uh, filed on Ray Hall’s case, he couldn’t represent us on our case. So, uh, we looked at the petition we had signed by the people, and we thought that we could do that to remove Ray off the Council…We looked up other ways of doing it, trying it…I feel, myself, that what Ray has done for this Council and city is nothing…Everything’s he done has been bad…Everything that Ray has touched has hurt us more than anything that I could think of…The pool when in the hole last year $6,000…We aren’t giving up. We are going to see what we can do to remove him. It’s a fight, but we’re gonna keep on trying.”
Hall asked if he could respond to what the Mayor had said. He was interrupted by a small dog that had wondered into the fire hall, but it was soon led out by a citizen and the meeting resumed.
Hall went on to say that everything at the meetings should be out in the open with no secrets. He also stated that he was tired of the people at the city hall for giving out his personal phone number, but also said that he was attacked in a derogatory way on a Facebook post for after posting about the “f,n idiots” of the city council. The crowd was offended by his post and many threatened to walk out of the meeting.
One citizen, spoke out towards Hall later in the meeting. “Just run the town on the up-and-up, get rid of all the secrets, and let’s move on for God’s sake. Just do it on the up-and-up and don’t have any secrets and don’t have no cover-ups or nothing. If somebody made a mistake, just own up to it and let’s go. You’re making a bunch of fools out of the whole town.”
John Amoroso did speak to the Council and stated that he wasn’t trying to take Hall’s side but rather wanted to know if anyone on the Council had also received a felony or misdemeanor. He said he could point out one, rather than Hall, who did. Robert Patenaude, recently elected in Former Council Bob Fike’s place, had in previously received a DUI. Amoroso made a remark on how Hall should be forgotten while the investigation was under way.
Amoroso said, “Do it the right way, and the hell with Ray Hall.”
Fisher also spoke on how Hall continued “feeding the press.”
Another citizen, said, “Everybody here, myself included, is feeding into him. Maybe it’s time to just move along and take control the control away from him.”
Sandra Feyson asked why they didn’t do background checks on the Councilmembers before electing them onto the City Council. Fisher replied it was because the only requirements for becoming a member was to be a registered voter and a resident of the city of Piedmont. Patenaude stated that according to WV law, felonies cannot keep a person from being on the City Council. Hall added that the only offices a man or woman with a felony could not hold was a Law Enforcement Officer and a Judge.
Grover went on to state that the Council should allow the “investigating entity” do his or her job while the Council members did the jobs they were elected to do rather than keep on with Hall’s case. She stated that everyone listening to him was giving Hall power by continuing to follow him and read about him.
With this the meeting moved on to issues with the town. Hall remains a council member.