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Coal Grove council decision causes stir in community

While the Coal Grove Village Council has made its decision about who will take Glen Markins place, not everyone is pleased with it.

The council recently voted unanimously to appoint Robert Markins, the son of Glen Markins, to replace the councilman. Glen Markins died December 28 following complications relating to a recent heart surgery.

Kyle McKnight, who was the fifth highest vote getter of four seats in the November election contacted The Tribune to express concern about why he was not appointed to the position.

Many other municipalities appoint the person who ran in the election and got the next highest number of votes, McKnight said.

“I think the people spoke,” he said. “We live in a democracy. I was next in line. But I know that’s not the state law.”

Under state law, the council has the right to appoint anyone they want to the four-year term.

McKnight, whose father was a long time mayor of the village, said he is not upset about the decision.

“I’m not mad or upset,” he said. “I know the reason why. I’m pretty black and white. I don’t have anything against anyone. I know what the state law is but I also know what the practice is.”

McKnight said he isn’t favored by the current council because he and his father are “straight shooters.”

Chris Brammer, a former councilman who was the sixth highest vote getter, said he is disappointed, but that Markins is the right person for the job.

“Due to the circumstances, I feel Mr. Markins was the right pick for the position,” Brammer wrote in an e-mail. “Back when Glen Markins was mayor, he was a good leader and was well respected throughout the village of Coal Grove. Coal Grove can not ask for a better replacement other than his son.

“Yes, I am a little disappointed. I would’ve liked another opportunity to get some things accomplished throughout Coal Grove. I had a lot of thoughts and ideas to make Coal Grove a better place but it just was not meant to be. I have no regrets or complaints with my first term in office. I can honestly say, I put in a good four years.

“The way I look at the whole situation, instead of me having five responsibilities in life, I am down to four. Now that I have a little more free time, I can finish out my professional boxing career. I am looking forward to get back into the ring once again.” Brammer continued. “That’s the difference between fighting in the ring and working with the other council members and the mayor. At least your opponent in the ring will punch you in the face and not in the back.”

Councilman Aaron Stewart said he has no hard feelings for McKnight and that no one representing him contacted Stewart to say that he would be interested in being appointed.

Stewart’s main concern was making sure that the person appointed would represent the interests of Glen Markins.

“I know Glen was really pushing for a stronger police force and cracking down on any drug issues in the village,” he said. “Glen was very hands-on on council and as a mayor.”

Juelda Collins, a newly elected council member, said the decision about who to appoint was not taken lightly.

It was a difficult decision, made more difficult by the fact that she is new to council, Collins said.

At first she thought the responsibility should be given to the next highest vote-getter. But ultimately she decided that if the law says that the council can pick the person, it must be for a reason. In appointing the person they can be assured that the council member will be someone with whom they work well and get along.

She added that the decision was not personal and she does not have a problem with any of the past council members or candidates.

“It was nothing against anyone,” she said. “There were a lot of people that could have been on council.”

Collins said she could have worked with any of the past council members or those that ran for election last year.

“I could have worked with any of the previous council and I can work with Bobby Markins,” Collins said.

Ultimately, her vote for Markins was to keep the council going in a positive direction, she said.

“I felt that with my vote I had to do what’s best for this council moving forward,” she said.

Councilman Nick Miller declined to comment. Mayor Larry McDaniel could not be reached for comment.