Kingwood hires new police officers and city attorney

KINGWOOD — Kingwood has hired two new police officers and a new city attorney.

Cody Kroll and Justin Knotts are on the job in city cruisers but have not yet received their uniforms.

The town’s last two officers, Chief Todd Nestor and Officer Felix Thorn, resigned in April without explanation from them or council. They subsequently sued the city, saying they were told to resign or be fired because they were investigating “high profile” residents.

As of Wednesday, the city had not filed a response to the civil suit in Preston Circuit Court.

Council voted unanimously to hire attorney Sam Hess and his firm, McNeer, Highland, McMunn and Varner. Hess said rather than a retainer, he would prefer billing at the rate of $135 per hour, in increments of one-tenth of an hour.

Recorder Bill Robertson asked about other costs. Hess said there could be some but, “we recognize the public coffers aren’t endless.” Hess noted his firm also represents a couple suing the city over a sewage problem, so council must sign a waiver of conflict.

Last month council voted not to renew the retainer of long-time attorney Sheila Williams. Williams received a $300 per month retainer if she had no billable hours in the month. She billed $150 per hour.

Also Tuesday, council:

decided to take bids for milling and paving Beverly Street, rather than accepting a bid from Stone Paving. Stone had the winning bid to pave other streets in town, but Beverly was not initially on the list.

appointed Mike Loughry to a three-year term on the Water Board. Nelson Corbin was appointed to fill a vacancy that will occur in August, when member Bill Bolyard leaves.

appointed Jeff Zigray to the Library Board, filling Tim Calvert’s unexpired term, which ends June 30, 2019.

appointed Lefty Stonebreaker to a vacancy on the Board of Zoning Appeals. There is one remaining vacancy on the board.

was asked by Councilwoman Michelle Whetsell to consider doing something about the “montage” of street signs in town.

took no action on a proposal to move city elections to the same year as county elections, in order to share a ballot and pollworkers, saving the city cash. First reading passed June 25 to amend the town’s legislative enactment (similar to a charter).

City Clerk Mary Howell said an attorney must prepare the public notice on the change, then a public hearing and second readiing are required.

was told by Robertson that he is speaking with administrators of the late Jim Dailey’s estate about gaining permission to access Dailey’s lot at the corner of Price and High, during the demolition of 146 S. Price St.

Robertson suggested a legal agreement be prepared but wondered if it would be a conflict for Hess to prepare it, because Dailey worked at the firm.

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