Rainelle’s town recorder to serve as mayor until council appoints one

RAINELLE, WV (WOAY) – Rainelle Town Recorder Bill Bell will now serve as the acting mayor until town council appoints one at their next meeting.

This comes after the resignation of former Mayor Jason Smith last week as he released his letter publicly citing “differing views and divisiveness” with the town recorder and town council. 

During a special meeting on Monday, the town council voted unanimously to accept the resignation of Smith.

“Accepting the resignation is the first step. Being the town recorder, the second step is I will assume that role until we appoint someone,” Bell said. 

In Monday’s meeting, Councilman John Wyatt read the former mayor’s resignation letter aloud, and then the council voted. Bell read the state code that says the recorder will take the spot until one is appointed, and while they do have that code to go by, Bell says this is uncharted territory. 

“Honestly it’s a new arena for us. We’ll be reaching out to the municipal league for guidance to tell us which way we must go,” Bell said in regards to specifics like having an application or interview process.  

Residents in Rainelle have been vocal about their dissatisfaction with the town and the lack of policing as well as the back and forth in town meetings.

Bell says from here, the only choice is to move forward. 

“Our logo is: ‘A Town Built to Carry On,’ and that’s exactly what we’re going to do,” he said. “We’re strong. We’re really resilient people. We’ve been through a lot of adversities, and this is just another little hump in the road if you will, and we’re going to cross it, and we’re going to be stronger for it in the end.”

The council will discuss the appointment of a mayor during their regular Monday meeting. Rainelle voters will elect a new mayor in June, and the appointed one will serve out the remainder of Smith’s term.


UPDATE:

The Mayor of Rainelle, Jason Smith, is stepping down.

Smith wrote out a detailed letter explaining his resignation, which will be effective November 1, 2020.

A full copy of the letter can be seen below:

Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.