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Charleston councilman resigns, says his goals have been met

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Longtime Charleston Council member Marc Weintraub resigned Thursday morning, saying he has accomplished most of his goals.

Weintraub, a Democrat representing the 11th Ward in the East End, has served on council for 10 years. He was re-elected to serve on council in 2011.   

"It was a hard decision," Weintraub said. "It was harder than what I thought it would be."

"I've served for a decade and I've loved every minute of it," he added.

Weintraub was a driving force in getting a park built in the city's East End, Jones said. Ground was broken on the park last Monday.

"With that groundbreaking on Monday, I really accomplished most of what I wanted to accomplish," he said.  

Charleston Mayor Danny Jones will recommend council appoint Mary Beth Hoover to fill Weintraub's seat, which he is vacating immediately. Council must approve the recommendation.

The issue has been placed on the agenda for Monday's council meeting. Officials will have to explore what committees Hoover should be appointed to.

Weintraub served on the streets and traffic and planning committees. He was chairman of the urban renewal committee. 

Jones said he would be sorry to see Weintraub go.

"He's been a great councilman," Jones said. "There's going to be a park in the East End now because of his efforts."  

Hoover, 38, serves as treasurer of the East End Main Street Board of Directors. She is an interior designer at Contemporary Galleries.

She has lived in the East End for six years and in Charleston for the past 16. She has served on the East End Main Street board since it was created in 2002, and is the treasurer.

Hoover also is the chairwoman of the agency's design committee, and has served as secretary of the organization.  

Though she said she was nervous at the prospect of taking over on council, she is eager to get started.

"I'm ready to get to work," she said.

 A native of Patton, Pa., in the central portion of the state, Hoover has a bachelor's of science degree in interior design from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and has worked at Contemporary Galleries as long as she's lived in Charleston.

Hoover said she wants to make Charleston "one of the great cities in the country."

"We have everything here we need, mountains, rivers and valleys," she said.

She also has a strong interest in urban development and will keep a close eye on any issues that deal with Kanawha Boulevard. 

"Anything that is going on in my ward, I'll be right on it," she said.

Jones contacted Hoover, who he knew through her volunteer service, early Thursday morning about filling the vacancy, she said.

"I've seen her volunteer efforts and I think she'll do great," he said.

Hoover has never served as an elected official, nor has she sought public office. But she does plan to run in her own right in 2015.

"I have three years to prove myself," she said.

East End Main Street Executive Director Ric Cavender was pleased with Hoover's selection, having worked with both Hoover and Weintraub on the East End Main Street board.

"She has been involved in a lot of our projects," Cavender said. "I can't think of a better person to fill Marc's shoes."

Both Weintraub and Hoover plan to continue serving on East End Main Street.

In his time on council, Weintraub came under fire for his numerous absences. He is a lawyer with the firm Bailey & Glasser, and he often is forced to travel outside the country for his job.

His busy schedule did play a minor role in his decision to resign from his seat, he said.

Weintraub missed 28 council meetings from 2007 to June 2011. He resigned from his position on the finance committee, a seat he held since his election in 2003, in June 2011.

At that time, Weintraub said he wanted to give other council members a chance to have a say on the finance committee. He later added that his absences also played a part in his decision.

Absences have continued to be a problem for Weintraub this term as well. He missed 14 of the 45 meetings since his term began on June 21, 2011 -- a total of 31 percent.

Weintraub was re-elected in 2011 by a landslide. He received 73.98 percent of the 342 votes cast in the 11th Ward race and defeated independent candidate Jonathan Caldwell. He ran unopposed in the primary election.      


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