Five to challenge for Morgantown City Council seats

MORGANTOWN — Five candidates vying for four seats have stepped forward to challenge for positions on Morgantown City Council in April’s municipal election.
Ron Bane (1st Ward), Barbara Parsons (2nd Ward) and Aaron Metz (7th Ward) will face incumbents Rachel Fetty, Bill Kawecki and Barry Wendell, respectively.
In the 6th Ward, Jay Redmond and Dave Harshbarger will face off to fill the seat left open by Mark Brazaitis, who has chosen not to seek re-election.
Incumbents Ryan Wallace (3rd Ward), Jenny Selin (4th Ward) and Ron Dulaney (5th Ward) are unopposed.
The Dominion Post reached out to the challengers about why they want to join, and in some cases return, to city council.

1st Ward 

Bane, a WVU employee who served on council for 16 years before losing to Fetty in 2017, said he’s always interested in being part of the decision making process, noting he’s spent the last two years as a member of the Morgantown Utility Board (MUB) and Mountain Line Transit Authority.
He said his interest in running isn’t about going after Fetty — who’s seeking her second term — but about a desire to address three issues he sees with the city.
“First, we’ve got to work on our transparency, and that has to be always. There seems to be a lot of misgivings about putting information out,” Bane said. “We’ve got council members who don’t know stuff they need to know. That needs to stop, because if they don’t know it, then the public doesn’t know it.”
Bane went on to say that council needs to find common areas on which it can speak with one voice on behalf of city residents.
Lastly, he said, the city should lead as Monongalia County’s seat instead of squaring off with the county commission.
“The relationship between the county commission and this council is awful. It’s awful,” Bane said. “We’ve got to get along with the county commission, and not only that, we should be reaching out to Westover, Star City, Granville, because we really are in this together.”

2nd Ward

Parsons, who recently ended an 18-year run on the Monongalia County Board of Education, said she wants to put the experience gained in that position, and others, to work for city residents.
“Listening and observing the issues at the council level and some of the issues in the community and having served on a number of boards of directors … I thought maybe I can bring something to the situation,” Parsons said. “Maybe I can bring some order, better communication and more of a planning focus.”
Parsons, who was recently appointed to the MUB board, will face the city’s current mayor in Kawecki, who is seeking his fourth two-year term.
She said she’s excited about the opportunity to help lead Morgantown, a city with a “dynamic environment” and leadership role statewide in terms of economic development.
While she said city council is different than the BOE, good leadership is pretty universal.
“The city is different than the school board, obviously, but the same principles of leadership apply. The same principles of governance apply and I’m a strong proponent of good governance,” Parsons said. “And if I think I can make a difference and make governance better, I’ll certainly try.”

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