Beckley Mayor Emmett Pugh steps down, reflects on time in office - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Beckley Mayor Emmett Pugh steps down, reflects on time in office

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After years of leading the City of Beckley, Mayor Emmett Pugh is leaving the office at the end of the year.

Pugh is stepping down with two-and-a-half years left in his term. 

Pugh was accused of using his public office for private gain and accepting improper gifts back in April 2012. Pugh and the West Virginia Ethics Commission reached a settlement earlier this year in which he agreed to pay back $7,000 for the cost of the investigation and to not run for public office for five years beginning January 1, 2014.

Pugh, however, continues to defend his innocence.

"I think it was flawed," he said. "I think if someone is going to raise an issue against you, I think credibility needs to be checked.

"If you're going to check my credibility, you also need to check the credibility of the individual that raised the issue."

Since 1988, Beckley's budget has gone from $5 million to $17 million, allowing funding for projects such as the Beckley Intermodal Gateway and Word Park.

"All in all there's a lot of positive things that have happened," he said. "It's not me, it's the cooperation that I get that we have a good working relationship with the Chamber of Commerce and the Raleigh County Commission and the Board of Education."

City residents also weighed in on their Mayor's accomplishments throughout the years.

"I think the mayor has done a great job. I do hope Beckley continues to grow," Berna Osteen said.

"I think he's done a lot of changes for Beckley that needed to be done. He's done the walking trails and such so I think he's done a great job," Lori Brammer said.

They also had opinions on where they hope to see their city in the future, with suggestions for growth.

Beckley City Council will meet on Jan. 2, 2014 to name an interim mayor to fill Pugh's unexpired term.