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Jones nominates Knauff to fill Charleston council vacancy

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Former Charleston City Councilman Adam Henry Knauff was nominated Tuesday by Mayor Danny Jones to fill a seat that soon will become vacant.

"Adam Knauff was the youngest member of City Council at that time and did an effective job representing not only the 7th Ward but also the generation of emerging leaders in Charleston," Jones said in a news release about Knauff's service from 2007 to 2011. "I am pleased that he has agreed to be nominated and to serve if confirmed by [the] City Council."

Councilman Mike Stajduhar's resignation was announced during Monday's City Council meeting. Stajduhar, a Republican who represents the West Side's 7th ward, said he is moving to Indiana this month for family reasons. His resignation is effective Dec. 17.

Council President Tom Lane said Knauff was "level-headed" and "did a good job representing the people in his ward" when he served Ward 7 in 2007. Knauff chose not to run for re-election after the birth of his son and the expectation of a second child at the time.

"Now that the children are a little bit older, I'm glad that he's interested in coming back," said Lane, a Republican.

Knauff hasn't stayed completely out of politics since his departure from the council. Incumbent Kanawha County Board of Education member Robin Rector defeated Knauff in 2012.

He has been active in the West Side, and Charleston at-large, serving as a board member of West Side Main Street, an officer of Generation Charleston and a board member of the Charleston Land Trust.

The father of two sons -- Noah and Jonah -- said that more established home routines and "successful potty training" have become the gateway to interest in returning to city politics.

"The boys are a little older now," Knauff said. "It should be easier on the family."

Knauff said he approached Jones about filling Stajduhar's seat once he saw news reports of the resignation. Knauff said he is honored by the recommendation and the possibility of seeing Stajduhar's term through.

"[Stajduhar] is someone that demonstrates by personal example how civic leaders should govern," said Knauff, who helped Stajduhar campaign in 2011. "I know how important family is, and, as always, he's doing the most responsible thing."

Council Majority Leader Jack Harrison said members will welcome Knauff back to City Hall.

"Adam was there before and was a good councilman," Harrison said. "We look forward to having him back."

While Lane said any member of the council could nominate a candidate, Harrison said he hasn't heard of plans to offer another nomination. Knauff would need a majority vote from council members to fill Stajduhar's seat.

If confirmed by the council, Knauff would replace Stajduhar on the Planning, Parks and Recreation and Urban Renewal committees.

Reach Rachel Molenda at rachel.molenda@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.


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