In a scathing letter to residents and Town Recorder Bill Bell, Rainelle Mayor Jason R. Smith announced his resignation, effective Sunday, November 1.
“It is with a heavy heart, yet equally the biggest relief of stress, that I tender my resignation as mayor of the Town of Rainelle,” Smith’s letter began.
The letter, which was released by Smith, was posted on the Rainelle Police Department’s Facebook page, with the caption: “Thanks for all you tried to do for this town.”
Smith, who began his tenure as the town’s mayor in June 2019, cited his inability to continue to, “subject myself and my family to the continued ridicule from those who are solely looking to benefit themselves and not the community” as his primary reason for resigning.
Smith has had a contentious relationship with town officials and the city council since the beginning of his term. However, the situation came to a head earlier this year when the council voted to put a freeze on the hiring of additional law enforcement officers within the town. In response, Smith issued a townwide state of emergency in an effort to circumvent the hiring freeze.
In his letter, Smith defends against accusations of his alleged anger issues, while referring to his accusers as hypocrites.
At one point in the letter, Smith goes so far as to compare himself to Jesus, while comparing members of the city council to Hitler.
Smith concluded his letter by issuing a warning.
“As for the rest of the administration, ‘don’t let your lips and your lives preach two different messages.’ That’s the one thing most of you are guilty of!” Smith wrote. “Some are guilty of far more and your days are numbered!!”
Rainelle Police Chief Dean Fankell told the WV Daily News, “I am saddened to see him leave before the end of his term. However, I understand, and I wish him the best.”
Rainelle Mayor Jason R. Smith announced his resignation, effective Sunday, November 1. Images of the letter are below: