BREAKING: BILL O'BRIEN named new Mayor of Beckley - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

BREAKING: BILL O'BRIEN selected as new Mayor of Beckley

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On Thursday night, new Mayor of Beckley Bill O'Brien took the place of long-time Mayor Emmett Pugh, who resigned in 2013, amid scandal.

"I don't think it's hit, I expected this to go longer than 30 seconds," O'Brien said about the city council meeting which selected him for the position. "I'm surprised but very pleased."

Hitting the ground running, O'Brien said he plans to meet the biggest challenges head first.

"In meeting with the Recorder-Treasurer, the budget is going to be a challenge," he said. "There are fewer resources available than in the past, so we will have to learn to work with that."

O'Brien is a newcomer to politics, though well known in the Beckley area. He recently retired from a 45-year career in broadcasting, but has stayed active in many community events. He is best known as the former 'Voice of the Flying Eagles', calling thousands of Woodrow Wilson High School sporting events on WJLS, where he was also a former station owner.

He was inducted into the West Virginia Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2008.

 

In a move that drew shock from those in attendance during the brief City Council meeting where the new mayor was selected, Interim Mayor Runner-Up Ann Worley withdrew her candidacy for the position.

"I knew I didn't have the votes," Worley said. "I thought I had the support but I did not.

"I'm very disappointed because I always felt that I was the best qualified candidate, however I look forward to working with the new administration and moving forward."

Residents of Beckley said they already have high expectations of the newly appointed Mayor.

"I would truly like to see fiscal issues be handled properly. I hold him to be honest and to have integrity," Beckley resident Angela Booker said. "I want him to do anything that he can do that will be positive to move Beckley forward."

"There are things that need to be done as far as infrastructure on Ward V because that's where I live," Beckley homeowner Judy Patterson told us.

O'Brien will be sworn in to office at 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 3 at City Hall.

O'Brien will serve until June 2016, at which time a public election for the position will be held.