Discuss Herron Arrest for DUI

Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott was wise to call for a special meeting of city council, as soon as practical, to discuss the arrest of City Manager Robert Herron during the weekend.

Herron was arrested Saturday night, after a traffic accident in downtown Wheeling. No serious injuries were reported. Wheeling Police policy calls for such investigations involving municipal officials to be handled by outside law enforcement agencies.

Ohio County sheriff’s deputies responded, and charged Herron with driving under the influence. Blood alcohol levels in excess of .08 are illegal for motorists in West Virginia. Herron’s BAC reportedly was .305.

Elliott, noting a variety of critically important matters Herron is dealing with on behalf of the city, said he planned to call a special council meeting to discuss the situation.

It has two aspects:

First, there is the question of how the arrest itself affects Herron’s ability to do the city manager’s job and the time he will have available to perform it.

A second important issue will not require an immediate answer, because, at this point, Herron has only been accused of DUI. He has not been found guilty in a court of law.

Should that occur, council members will have to consider whether it is appropriate for someone with a DUI on his driving record to serve as city manager. In that context, it should be noted that other public officials convicted of single DUI offenses have received second chances, both from the government bodies that employed them and the public.

Like anyone else, Herron is innocent until proven guilty. Still, Elliott and council members need to get expert opinions, including some from City Solicitor Rosemary Humway-Warmuth, on the arrest’s ramifications for municipal government. Then, with that information as a foundation, they need to meet as soon as possible to discuss what, if anything, to do about the situation.

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