Judge dismisses lawsuit over changes made to Beckley’s form of government

BECKLEY, W.Va. — A Raleigh County judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a Beckley businessman regarding changes to the city’s form of government.

Doug Epling

Circuit Judge Andrew Dimlich tossed out businessman Doug Epling’s lawsuit on Friday, meaning attempts by the Beckley Common Council to hire a city manager can continue.

Beckley had had a strong mayor form of government until voting to make the switch earlier this year to a city manager form of government.

Judge Dimlich heard testimony in April but didn’t issue a ruling until Friday.

Attorneys for Epling argued council’s 4-3 vote to reduce the powers of the mayor while at the same time hiring a city manager violates state law.

Epling told reporters after the April hearing that city council is ignoring the residents of Beckley by not giving them the opportunity to vote.

“I just think the people need to be represented and someone needs to take up the fight for them,” Epling said at the time.

Beckley Mayor Rob Rappold has supported the change to a city manager form of government.

The council was considering hiring a Virginia-based search firm to help find a city manager.

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