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Dunbar mayor won’t run this year

DUNBAR, W.Va. -- Dunbar Mayor Jack Yeager won't run for reelection in this year's municipal election.

Yeager confirmed Tuesday afternoon that he did not file candidacy paperwork for the 2013 municipal election. The Democrat took office in 2008 after former Mayor Roger Wolfe was ousted.

He ran for mayor in the 2009 election and secured 784 votes, beating Dunbar minister Lanny Coberly, a Republican. Coberly took 290 votes.

"I said I only wanted one term," Yeager said. "I just had a certain set of goals when I went in, and I've accomplished most of them."

Among Yeager's goals was gaining financial stability for the city. The tax base has increased and new businesses have opened, he said. Yeager said he also sought raises for city workers and their salaries now are on competitive footing with other cities. 

Non-uniformed city employees got raises of 25 cents per hour in August.

Firefighters received a 45-cent-per-hour raise, plus $25 a month if they are trained EMTs. Police officers saw at least 50 cents more per hour, with individual raises determined by rank.

Council members were to vote on raises for elected officials at Tuesday's meeting.

Yeager said another goal was to enhance recreation. He said those projects are ongoing.

He said more than $1 million in grants had been raised for downtown revitalization. The city received more than $400,000 in 2010 for the 10th Street Streetscape project and the Hike/Bike to School program at Dunbar Intermediate. Both projects are ongoing.

"The city's in pretty good shape," Yeager said. "We've accomplished quite a bit and we're not totally done.

"It's just time for me to move on to something else."

The decision wasn't easy. He said he had his paperwork filled out and waited until "the last hour of the last day" on Jan. 12, before deciding against another run. 

Yeager, a married father of five, retired in 2002 from Marshall University's Graduate College, where he taught leadership studies. He continues to teach one class a semester at the school as a professor emeritus.

He also served in the West Virginia Army National Guard for 39 years before retiring as a brigadier general in 1995.

Yeager won't be mayor in a few months, but he'll still be around.

He plans to continue working with Shawnee Park in Institute and working to improve recreation for city residents. Dunbar took over operations at Shawnee pool over the summer, as the city's pool was in severe disrepair.

Terry Greenlee, Public Works director, expressed interest in running for mayor and filed on the Democratic ticket. Dunbar resident Ramona Ward also has filed as a Democrat. No Republicans have filed, Yeager said.

Greenlee, 63, was raised in Dunbar and served in the Army National Guard, commanding a unit in the 150th Armored Cavalry based out of Dunbar. He also has a background in construction.

He said he's worn multiple hats for Dunbar, including recreation director and public works. Greenlee said he spoke to Yeager about running for office and that the mayor told him he'd be a good choice because of his background.

"I really want to do good things for Dunbar because it's my hometown," Greenlee said. "I don't want to give away too much now, but one of the things I'd like to do is bring a lot more business back to Dunbar and hire a community development specialist whose only job is to find ways to do that."

Ward, 72, moved to Dunbar about a year ago but said she plans to hit the ground running with her campaign. She already has planned to walk the entire city to get to know citizens. A lifelong Kanawha County resident, Ward served for four years as a delegate in the state Legislature. She lived in Charleston before moving to Dunbar.

She hopes to entice more "Millenials" into moving their families and businesses to Dunbar. She said population has dropped in the city and that if it continues, senior citizens will outnumber the younger residents.

"I moved here because I chose to move here," Ward said. "It's a beautiful city and it's got a lot to offer. I think the city itself, with grants and things, has a lot of things you can promote."

Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at or 304-348-4850.


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