Pratt council moves to oust mayor

By Staff reports
PRATT, W.Va. -- Pratt Town Council members began the process Tuesday night to remove Mayor Gary Fields from office.Councilwoman Charlotte Calhoun said citizens had become fed up with legal troubles involving the mayor and his wife, Norma Fields.Gary Fields was arrested for simple drug possession in August, after police allegedly found painkillers that the mayor did not have a prescription for. Norma Fields was arrested Oct. 22 for allegedly violating a personal-safety order taken out by Town Clerk Kathy Fisher.Council members asked the mayor to resign in early October, but he declined, promising to get his personal life in order.
Under state law, members of the Town Council can submit a petition to the Kanawha Circuit Court asking that the mayor be removed from office. Removal proceedings also can be started with a petition signed by 25 townspeople, or 1 percent of registered voters, whichever number is smaller.In Pratt, where there are 603 registered voters, a petition signed by six or seven residents was enough to start removal proceedings.Once a petition is filed, the chief circuit judge turns the petition over to the West Virginia Supreme Court, which appoints a special three-judge panel to decide if the mayor should be removed.Gary Fields previously told the Gazette that he was thinking of resigning at the end of the year. Re-elected in June, Fields is less than a year into his third two-year term.
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