Mayor Tom Mainella shows the messages he received

Fairmont Mayor Tom Mainella scrolls through the messages he received on his phone after video of an incident involving the mayor was posted online.

FAIRMONT — On the agenda for Fairmont City Council’s Oct. 12 meeting is the adoption of a resolution to censure Mayor Tom Mainella.

A video recording of Mainella in a heated dispute with a Fairmont resident was posted on social media in early September, which caused an outcry from residents around Marion County.

In the video, Mainella can be seen berating the man for improperly parking his vehicle on Avalon Drive in West Side. As the video went viral, phone calls, emails and online posts called for Mainella’s removal.

Mainella received calls from as far away as Colorado and California and his son, who no longer lives in Fairmont, also received threatening calls.

Witnesses have come forward to offer testimony that adds clarity to the situation. According to witnesses, the Fairmont resident had regularly parked improperly, causing traffic to slow or stop.

At Council’s Sept. 28 meeting, Mainella formally apologized to the family with whom he had the dispute, as well as members of City Council, and residents of Fairmont.

“It was 100 percent my fault,” Mainella said. “It’s all on me — I accept the responsibility.

“I’m very sorry it happened, and like I said, it’s 100 percent on me, nobody else. And I know that it was terribly embarrassing and unbecoming for the mayor of the City of Fairmont to act like that, and I am sincerely sorry for what I’ve allowed to happen.”

At the close of the Sept. 28 meeting, Council members met in executive session to discuss how to handle the situation. After the session, members said that a resolution would be proposed at the Oct. 12 meeting.

It’s expected that Council will censure Mainella for his actions. According to Tuesday’s agenda, members will have the opportunity to vote on censuring.

“It’s on the agenda for Council to consider,” City Clerk Janet Keller said. “If they choose to vote on it, then they will. So, it’s not a done deal.

“All the resolution does is censure him, saying it was unbefitting as an elected Council member, and it was an embarrassment to the city of Fairmont, the Council and the citizens,” Keller said.

If Council members do not make a motion to vote on the resolution, then the item will be dropped.

However, even Mainella expects a vote to take place.

“It doesn’t surprise me that it’s on the agenda,” Mainella said. “We will wait and see what happens. The resolution comes as no surprise, that’s really it.

I would think they would vote for it,” he said.

“A censure is a written reprimand,” Keller said, “which is more or less what they did with Council members Kennedy and Bledsoe.”

In 2020, Karl “David” Kennedy used homophobic language in different social media posts, as well as referring to a slain member of Iran’s military as a “towelhead.” Bledsoe, called then-Senator Kamala Harris a “ho” after Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden announced he had chosen Harris as is running mate. Within days of that post, Bledsoe also referred to W.Va. Del. Danielle Walker, D-Monongalia, as “satanic” for her position on a woman’s right to choose.

To reach Lori Riley, email lriley@timeswv.com.

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