By RONDA GREGORY
News & Journal Staff Writer
Former Harrison County Commissioner Frank “Chunki” Angotti was sworn in as county commissioner at a special meeting Feb. 27. Angotti will fill two years of the remainder of the unexpired six-year commission term of newly elected State Sen. Michael Romano, who resigned Jan. 12. Ironically, Romano won the senate seat, formerly held by Angotti.
Angotti, owner of Chunki’s Pizza and Subs in Clarksburg for 37 years, had previously served two stints as county commissioner during a 2002-2010 period – two years of an unexpired term, and a full six-year term.
Angotti had continued to work in several capacities to serve the county even when he was not on the commission, such as being a member of the Harrison County Parks and Recreation Board, the Emergency Squad Board, and the North Central Regional Airport Board.
“Once you’ve served, you’re always a public servant,” he said.
But he’s glad to again be part of the three-person commission.
“I really feel honored that the Democratic Executive Committee elected me to go back to serve on the Harrison County Commission,” Angotti said.
Angotti won the election after three rounds of voting by a 6 to 5 final vote. The Harrison County Democratic Executive Committee were the electors, choosing from a roster of four candidates, initially nominated by the commission. County employee Rex Starkey, former House of Delegates and State Senator Sam Cann and former Delegate Barbara Warner were the other contenders.
Three rounds of voting were required to finally reach the six-vote majority, said Harrison County Democratic Executive Committee Chair Ron Fragale. As chair, Fragale did not vote, and member John Madia, stating that his employment at the courthouse could create a conflict of interest, removed himself from the vote. (The committee is comprised of 12 regular members and a non-voting chair person.)
Fragale said there was no disruption of county business during the gap between Romano’s resignation and Angotti’s swearing in, and said inclement weather contributed to some slight delay.
“They continued their regular meetings with the two commissioners,” Fragale said, explaining there had been no need for a tie-breaking vote during the vacancy.
“The committee had several weeks to examine the candidates; all were quite capable, and, I believe, they made a good choice,” he said, stating the fact that among all of the candidates, Angotti was the only one who had prior commission service.
Additionally, Fragale stated Angotti has extensive statewide service as well.
“I had served with Mr. Angotti in the House of Delegates,” Fragale said. “He was a very good member of the legislature – very conscientious regarding public service.”
When asked if he will want to be re-elected to the commission after this two-year term ends in 2016, Angotti answered without hesitation, “Sure. I would run again.”