BECKLEY, W.Va. — As the mayor’s time in the big seat is coming to an end in the City of Beckley and leadership shifts to a city manager form of government, a new interim city manager will fill the role until a permanent one is appointed.

Beckley Mayor Rob Rappold appointed longtime City Recorder/ Treasurer Billie Trump to serve as Interim City Manager for the next couple of months.

Billie Trump

Trump told MetroNews while he’s glad to fill the role, he looks at it as merely a springboard to help facilitate the transitionary period for the city as its ongoing governmental shift continues.

“I’m gratified they have enough confidence in me to appoint me to the job and I look at it as really a bridge between the current strong mayor and the city manager form of government,” Trump said.

Trump said for well over a hundred years, the city operated under a Strong Mayor form of government. In January, Beckley Common Council voted to change that and shift to a City Manager form of government.

He said while Beckley has functioned well under a mayoral system for many years, changes within the city led the council to veer more towards taking another leadership direction.

“Eventually the job becomes bigger and bigger, so moving to a professional city manager, someone who can dedicate more time and has more experience and skills in a number of areas is just a logical move for the city,” Trump said.

The city has hired a recruitment firm to aid in its search for a permanent city manager, and officially appointing a new person when they do find them will require a vote by council.

However, Trump was appointed without a vote as stipulations in the city manager ordinance stated that one must have been in office by no later than June 14.

Trump said the firm the city committee hired to search for a new city manager, Baker Tilly, specializes in finding qualified officials for governmental roles in municipalities across the country. He said the committee feels they will do a good job with finding the right match.

“There’s a lot of confidence that this group will find not just one but several qualified candidates and then the council and the committee can look at choosing from among those candidates,” he said.

For now, however, Rappold said that Trump is the right fit for the job to temporarily serve as acting city manager. Trump has served as city recorder/ treasurer as well as Chief Executive Officer in the city since Rapplod took office eight years ago.

He said it has been an honor working closely with Rappold under his leadership over the last eight years.

“Working with Mayor Rappold over these last eight years has been a pleasure, the things that have been accomplished, the vision that the mayor has shown, the leadership he has shown has moved Beckley forward greatly,” said Trump.

Rappold’s term as mayor for the city is set to expire on June 30.

A Beckley business owner Ryan Neal was appointed as the new mayor of Beckley. Neal will be the first to ever serve as more of a ceremonial mayor in the city and not take the lead on making many major council decisions.

Trump said this new system as a city manager form of government should work well for Beckley as it has for other larger municipalities around the state, and it should function more efficiently.

“To have consistent leadership that’s not really affected by politics, that goes beyond the election cycle so you can have the continuity to progress the city forward, to go ahead with construction projects, to see grants all the way through to their fruition, it just makes sense,” he said.

Trump said more smaller cities in the state are also starting to shift to this form of government as well.

Beckley City Council was set to vote on Trump’s new salary as interim city manager during its Tuesday night meeting.

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