Living, 2 Obituaries, 3-4 Crossword, 8
CAugust 2, 2016
Tomblin staffers eye exit
By Phil Kabler
With a little more than five months remaining in Gov. Earl Ray
Tomblin’s term in office, another round of ranking governor’s
office staffers are requesting employment exemptions from the
state Ethics Commission to allow them to seek jobs in the private sector.
That includes chief of staff Chris Stadelman, who was promoted to
that post from communications director in June, after chief of staff
Charlie Lorensen stepped down a month after getting his own em-
“I speak for myself and, I think, many of the others in saying
I don’t plan to go anywhere. I plan to stay to the very last day,”
Stadelman said Monday.
However, he noted that, under the Ethics Act, ranking
members of the governor’s office staff are barred from
even speaking with prospective employers about future
“I’ve had people approach me along the lines of, ‘What
are you doing after this? We should talk at some point,’”
Stadelman said. “I have to say, ‘I can’t even talk to
Under the state Ethics Act, full-time public offi-
cials and ranking staffers may not seek employ-
ment from businesses or persons that their
agencies regulate for one year after leaving
government service, a provision sometimes
referred to as the “revolving door” ban.
The act allows officials and employees to
seek exemptions if the one-year prohibition
presents an undue hardship. Because the
governor’s office effectively has regulato-
ry authority over all state businesses and
residents, staffers could not otherwise
seek employment anywhere in the state
for one year without the exemption.
Other governor’s office staff and cab-
inet secretaries requesting employment
n Joseph Garcia, director of legislative
affairs. Garcia has served as the primary
legislative liaison for the governor since
2014, and previously had been
a deputy general counsel to
n Randy Huffman,
cabinet secretary, De-
partment of Environ-
Huffman was appoint-
ed DEP secretary by
Employees request exemptions to enter private sector
SEE Staffers, 4C
By Erin Beck
Cities throughout West Virgin-
ia and the United States will hold
National Night Out events today.
The events give community
members a chance to get to
know their local police officers
and neighbors and learn more
about crime prevention. A variety
of activities are planned, ranging
from safety talks to face painting
and live music.
In West Virginia, events are
planned for Beckley, Bridgeport,
Charleston, Charles Town,
Clarksburg, Fayetteville, Glen-
ville, Grafton, Grantsville, Han-
cock County, Monongah, Park-
ersburg, Premier, Raleigh County
and Wheeling, according to the
National Night Out website.
Huntington is also considering
holding one on Oct. 6, according
to Captain Hank Dial. Hunting-
ton hasn’t held one in several
Charleston Police Chief Brent
Webster said several of the loca-
tions holding National Night Out
events in the city are tied to
active neighborhood watch
groups that regularly hold the
He noted that when there is
an increase in crime in an area,
everyone wants to hold commu-
nity meetings, “but the interest-
ing part is a lot of these sites,
they’ve been doing something for
He said the events are benefi-
cial because they give officers a
chance to build fellowship with
community members and give
officers another opportunity to
provide crime prevention tips.
The East End has experienced
an increase in break-ins lately.
Webster noted that many break-
ins in Charleston, in general,
occur when people leave cars or
sheds unlocked. Sometimes peo-
ple just need a reminder to be
vigilant, he said.
“Maybe a safety talk will keep
someone from being victimized,”
Parkersburg Police Chief Jo-
seph Martin said the city will
hold its first National Night Out
event this year.
He said the event is a result of
an increase in neighborhood
watch groups over the last sev-
eral months. Organizers hope to
recruit more neighborhood watch
participants at the event.
“It’s a collaborative effort be-
tween our neighborhood watch
groups and the police depart-
ment,” Martin said.
Even though the relationship
between the police and the com-
munities they serve is strained in
many parts of the country, Mar-
tin said that isn’t the case in
“They’ve been supporting the
police department as a result of
the things that happened in Dal-
las and St. Louis,” he said.
“We’ve seen a ton of support
from our community. It’s very
humbling for us.”
He said the event will be held
at The ROCK, a church in Park-
ersburg at 1305 37th St., from 6
to 8 p.m.
In Charleston, the National
Night Out events planned in-
n Orchard Manor: 5:30 to 8
Communities take part in National Night Out
By Jake Jarvis
Search crews will again go out
and look for Mykala Phillips, the
14-year-old girl who went missing
when the late-June floods de-
stroyed her home in White Sul-
phur Springs, next week.
Bill Kershner, the coordinator
for the state’s search and rescue
operations, said Monday, the day
after the Phillips family held a
celebration of the girl’s life, that
crews will go out again, possibly
on Aug. 9, to look for her body
after excavators have removed
some more of the debris from the
area along the Greenbrier River.
“It’s not that we have quit, there’s
just no reason to keep doing the
same thing over and over again
when we’ve already looked through
the area,” Kershner said. “We’re
going back with a few dogs, and
we’ll work our way back from the
scene where she went in the water.”
Kershner said there are still
large piles of debris stacked in
Greenbrier County, some piled as
high as 30 feet. He thinks they
might find Mykala’s body buried
in those piles of branches and silt.
He and other emergency offi-
cials in the state have reached out
to search and rescue experts
across the country to see if there
were any search techniques or
new technologies they could try to
Considering that Lisa Blanken-
ship — the mother from Renick
who also washed away during the
flood — was found 30 miles from
her home down the Greenbrier
River, officials assume Mykala
could have washed far away, too.
Kershner, who has long been in-
volved with search and rescue in the
state, said he can remember only
Search continues for girl lost during flood
SAM OWENS | Gazette-Mail
Randy Gilliam holds up a picture of his 14-year-old niece, Mykala
Phillips, during a Celebration of Life ceremony held in her honor at
Bethesda Church in White Sulphur Springs on Sunday.
By Kate White
A Charleston city councilman says he was attacked
just after 2 a.m. Monday on the West Side, according
Bernard Slater Jr. was at the Go Mart in the 800
block of Washington Street West, near Stonewall
Jackson Middle School, when a group of men at-
tacked him, he told Kanawha County Metro 911
dispatchers, according to Lt. Steve
Cooper, chief of detectives for the
Slater’s nose was injured during
the beating, Cooper said. The
councilman used a nearby phone
to call 911.
Slater told police he didn’t know
his attackers. He identified them,
Cooper said, as a group of black
Police are investigating and are
asking for any video surveillance
from the area that might have captured the incident.
On Monday, Slater told a reporter he had stopped at
Go Mart for a pack of cigarettes when he saw the group
of men “bullying” another person and told them to stop.
That’s when the group turned on him, he said.
“I turned around, put up my hands and said ‘I don’t
wanna fight,’ [but they] kept coming at me,” Slater
said. “They got me on the ground, and that was it.”
Slater said his uncle, who was also at the scene,
managed to get him into the car after the assault,
where they drove to nearby Save-A-Lot and called
police to report the incident.
Shortly after, paramedics took Slater, who said he
has hemophilia, to the hospital to receive blood.
Slater, a Democrat, was elected last year to the
council seat for Ward 1, which includes much of North
Charleston west of Patrick Street. He defeated former
councilman Pat Jones by two votes in the primary,
and then got 150 votes against 97 votes for write-in
candidates in the general election.
Slater’s criminal history, including three previous
arrests on DUI charges, was an issue during his
campaign for the City Council last year. Slater told a
reporter at the time that he used to struggle with a
substance abuse problem but that his “history is not
relevant now that I have gave my life to Christ.”
After his election, police allegedly found text mes-
sages from Slater to a man who was charged with
murder for providing heroin to a woman who later
City official says
he was attacked
on West Side
SEE Night Out, 4C
SEE Search, 4C
SEE Attack, 4C
By Kate White
Ethics charges have been filed against a Sum-
mersville lawyer claiming he used shady tactics
while campaigning for the May election, in which
he narrowly defeated a longtime Nicholas County
About a week before Steve Callaghan beat Circuit
Judge Gary Johnson by 220 votes, a flier was sent
out to voters in Nicholas County, purporting to show
Johnson partying with President Barack Obama.
Johnson has been judge for 23 years.
In a filing made public Friday, the Judicial Inves-
tigation Commission alleges Callaghan created the
flier, or caused it to be distributed, and charges him
with violating the rules judges and judicial candi-
dates are required to abide by. Candidates for judi-
cial office are required to comply with the state’s
Judicial Code of Conduct.
Callaghan is set to take office Jan. 1. He has 30
days to respond to the statement of charges. Even-
tually, arguments will be made before members of
the Judicial Hearing Board, who will make a rec-
ommendation to state Supreme Court justices.
Judge Ronald Wilson, who chairs the judicial
commission, writes in the statement of charges that
formal discipline is appropriate.
The two-page political flier Callaghan sent, or
caused to be sent to voters, the filing states, “was
intended to deceive voters into believing that Judge
Johnson and U.S. President Barack Obama were
drinking beer and partying at the White House while
conniving with one another to kill coal mining jobs
in Nicholas County.”
On May 5, the same day it was mailed to voters,
the flier was posted to Callaghan’s Facebook cam-
paign page, according to the statement of charges.
That night, a state disciplinary lawyer called Cal-
laghan and told him that she believed the flier vio-
lated state ethics rules.
The lawyer told Callaghan that if he took down
the Facebook posts and ran radio ads to counter the
negative effects of the flier, she wouldn’t file a dis-
ciplinary complaint against him, the charges state.
She added, though, that if someone else were to file
a complaint against him, it would be investigated.
Nicholas Johnson filed a complaint against Cal-
laghan on May 26.
According to the charges, Callaghan immediately
SEE Ethics, 4C