MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Martinsburg City Council on Monday agreed to solicit letters of intent from people interested in serving as the next mayor.

The action follows last week’s death of Harriet Johnson. Johnson, the city’s first female mayor, was hospitalized last week after suffering an undisclosed medical emergency.

Johnson served less than a year in office. The appointed person would serve the rest of her term.

The action came at an emergency meeting of the Martinsburg City Council that took place last night. Letters will be accepted through Friday. The council will meet on July 21 to review the letters and appoint someone to the office.

The Johnson family will hold visitation services on Tuesday, July 13th, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Brown Funeral Home in Martinsburg. A funeral will be held at 10 a.m. on Wednesday at the same location.

From the Council:  “The Martinsburg City Council is requesting letters of interest from eligible voters residing within the City of Martinsburg interested in filling the unexpired mayoral term of the late Harriet Johnson. Letters of interest (and resumes highly encouraged) are to be received by the City Recorder, 232 N. Queen Street, Martinsburg, WV 25401 no later than noon on Friday, July 16, 2021. Council will discuss and appoint an individual to fulfill the unexpired three (3) year mayoral term at a Council meeting scheduled for July 21, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.

Pursuant to Section 20 of the Martinsburg City Charter, ‘If a vacancy shall occur in the office of the Mayor, the Council shall, as soon as practicable, fill the vacancy by the appointment of some qualified person.’ The only requirement to be appointed Mayor is contained within City Charter Sec. 14 – ‘No person shall be eligible to the office of Mayor except a citizen entitled to vote ….’  City Charter Sec 10 requires a person to be a resident for 1 year before they would become eligible to vote. Therefore, anyone who has been a resident of the City for a year would be eligible to be appointed.”