BECKLEY, W.Va. — Residents of Beckley will be very familiar with their new mayor.
Bill O’Brien is a household name in the city having spent years on the air at WJLS Radio and eventually owning the station. Thursday night, members of the Beckley City Council selected O’Brien to be the city’s interim mayor.
“Very honestly I was surprised at how quickly it went through. There was only one round of voting and it was done in less than a minute,” O’Brien told MetroNews. “I”m still trying to react from the responses. It’s been unreal.”
O’Brien said he hasn’t had much time to examine the details of the task at hand. However, all candidates for the job were granted a meeting with the city recorder last week ahead of the selection. Like most cities, Beckley has financial challenges ahead. O’Brien intended to tackle those in much the same way he successfully ran the radio station for years.
“We’ll use the same principles,” he said. “We’ll do the basics and do them well. We’ll take care of the people’s business and people’s money. We will continue to do the things that we’re successful in broadcasting, we will continue to do that in running the city.”
O’Brien said Beckley is the unofficial “capital” of southern West Virginia. It’s the city with the biggest shopping malls, hospitals, and large number of restaurants. He said it’s important to understand and cultivate the attraction of the city to the region.
“Many thousands of people who don’t live in the city use the city every day,” he said. “It’s important the city of Beckley continue to provide the services to this region that people rely on every day. We’re going to do that.”