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Pratt council seek mayor's resignation; Fields declines

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Pratt town council members unanimously asked longtime Mayor Gary Fields to resign on Monday, citing his recent arrest for simple drug possession.

Fields declined, however, saying he is not ready to step away from progress he's made with the town's troubled water system, Councilwoman Charlotte Calhoun said.

City Council members held an emergency meeting Monday night and discussed Fields' arrest during a closed session.

State Police allegedly found Fields with painkillers that he did not have a prescription for on Aug. 29. Fields was driving the city's police cruiser along Paint Creek Road when police pulled him over.

All six council members voted to ask Fields to step down, Calhoun said. But Fields said he didn't feel like he had to at this time. He promised that if there were any other incidents, he would resign immediately, Calhoun said.

"He said he doesn't want to embarrass the town," she said.

Council members don't plan to take further action.

The town's water system has been in disrepair for several years and it was recently bought out by West Virginia American Water. Fields said he wanted to stay on to facilitate the change, Calhoun said.

Council members voted late last month to strip Fields of his access to city-owned vehicles.

Phone calls to Fields' home were not returned Monday night. Fields has been involved in Pratt politics since the early 90s, and has served as mayor for several years.

In 1992, Fields had faced a petition for his removal as mayor. He had been stripped of his powers to command the town's two-man police force after attempting to suspend a former police chief. He also faced 12 criminal complaints filed against him and his wife by neighbors that later were dismissed. In addition, he had pleaded no contest in 1992 to driving under the influence of alcohol.

Reach Travis Crum at travis.crum@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.


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