Two Civil Service Commission members resign

PARKERSBURG – Two commissioners accused of abusing their power while on the Parkersburg Police Civil Service Commission resigned late Wednesday, heading off a court case aimed at their removal.

Mayor Bob Newell said Thursday he received notice Wednesday that commission President Robert Campbell and member Joe Gonzales had tendered their resignations.

Neither Campbell nor Gonzales returned calls Thursday seeking comment.

Newell sent letters to the two members earlier this week, stating his intention to file a petition with Wood County Circuit Court to have them removed. Newell called the commission “grossly dysfunctional” and accused the two of “multiple intentional and dishonest acts” designed to cause issues for the city police department and administration and which resulted in more than a quarter million dollars in court costs for the city.

A third member of the commission, Doug Kreinik, resigned early Wednesday and was not included in the letter or accused of any wrongdoing. Kreinik had announced his intention to resign nearly a week before his actual resignation.

Newell said because of the resignations, he would not file the court petition and likely would not seek any further action against Campbell or Gonzales.

“It’s kind of a Catch 22,” Newell said. “Whatever action we take against them, we have to hire their attorney. As a city commission they get the privilege of protection from that same entity.”

Instead Newell said he plans to announce an new appointment to the commission as soon as possible. The three-member commission is appointed by the mayor, the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley and the Parkersburg Fraternal Order of Police respectively.

Newell said there must be at least two members appointed before the commission can again take up its work.

“That’s why I’ve asked the Chamber to step up their process and appoint someone as quickly as possible,” Newell said. “We’re just going to appoint a new commission and get past this.”