Morgantown Council selects Abu-Ghannam over Trumble as city’s next mayor

MORGANTOWN — Morgantown City Council on Tuesday voted 4-2 to select Joe Abu-Ghannam over Danielle Trumble to serve as the city’s mayor for the next 365 days. 

Jenny Selin, who’s served as mayor for the last three years, was selected as deputy mayor on a 6-1 vote. 

The process was quick, but not without peculiarities.  

The selection of mayor and deputy mayor is the first order of business at the first meeting of the new fiscal year. It occurs before the roll call is taken or the Pledge of Allegiance is recited. 

Councilor Dave Harshbarger was not in attendance, but participated in the mayor and deputy mayor votes remotely, then signed off. When the official meeting roll was called, he was listed absent. 

Weeze Michael nominated Trumble. Bill Kawecki nominated Abu-Ghannam and voting commenced without further commentary. 

As the vote played out, it got to Harshbarger with three votes for Abu-Ghannam (Abu-Ghannam, Kawecki and Selin) and two votes for Trumble (Michael, Trumble). 

Harshbarger’s vote sealed the selection. Without it, the tally goes to Brian Butcher with the potential for a 3-3 tie. 

After Harshbarger’s vote, Butcher opted to not even offer a name, explaining, “maybe I’ll just abstain since it doesn’t matter.” 

Harshbarger nominated Selin for deputy mayor. She was unopposed.  

That vote went 6-1 with Trumble simply voting, “no.” 

Abu-Ghannam has been on council since August 2021, when he was appointed by council to be the 1st Ward representative after Patrick Hathaway won the seat in the city’s April 2021 election then immediately announced he was moving out of town. 

He was reelected to a four-year term in 2023 and has served as the city’s deputy mayor for the past year. 

Selin has been on council since 2007, including multiple stints as mayor and deputy mayor. 

While members of council didn’t say much about the selection process, Trumble’s husband, John Trumble, said he was left feeling “sincere embarrassment and disappointment.” 

“I hope you all are ready to do the difficult and uncomfortable work that this community needs from you, and not just the fun stuff. I know which ones of you already are and they’re waiting for the rest of you,” he said. “Morgantown deserves an elected, strong mayor.”