By RONDA GREGORY
News & Journal Staff Writer
Mayor Sammy DeMarco swore in Clarksburg native Frank E. “Trey” Simmerman III as the town’s new legal advisor at the city council’s regular meeting Sept. 8. He is in law practice with his father at Simmerman Law Office, PLLC, the Clarksburg firm founded by his father, Frank E. Simmerman Jr.
The new city attorney has extensive experience in municipal law litigation, including in the areas of public procurement, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), judiciary responsibilities of public officials and the West Virginia Governmental Ethics Act.
Assistant City Manager Travis Blosser said he recommended Simmmeman, a 2011 West Virginia University College of Law graduate, for the position because of this extensive background in municipal law and how it applies to governmental management issues.
“I thought it was a great fit,” Blosser said.
Simmerman said one of his main responsibilities is to ensure all council actions and contracts conform to the “over-arching laws of the state of West Virginia as well as those of the municipality of Shinnston”. Additionally, he said, it is his job to serve the citizens of Shinnston in an honest and open manner.
“One of our themes is transparency and getting the people involved in the community,” Simmerman said. “I feel honored in the sense that I’m both a lawyer and a public servant.”
Mayor DeMarco said he is confident that Simmerman has the right skills to be an asset to assist the city with its interest in annexation and home rule initiatives. “He came with good recommendations,” DeMarco said.
According to the mayor, outgoing City Attorney Thomas Michael will stay on for a few months to help with the transition of responsibilities.
While attending WVU College of Law, Simmerman earned the CALI award in constitutional law and served as a legal research assistant there. He also worked as a clerk for the Honorable Irene M. Keeley in the Northern District of the state and as a summer intern for Steptoe & Johnson, PLLC.
Simmerman earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy at the College of Wooster in Ohio in 2008 and was a three-year letter winner for the Wooster Fighting Scots football team. Simmerman also studied at the University of Aberdeen in Aberdeen, Scotland, where he studied international philosophy and law.
After being admitted to the West Virginia Bar in 2011, Simmerman, a 2004 graduate of Notre Dame High School in Clarksburg, decided to come home and join his father in the family firm.
He said when he went away to college in Ohio he then had no plans on moving back to his home state. But after some stops along the way – in Charlotte and Pittsburgh – he missed West Virginia.
“I missed the people down here,” Simmerman said. “I like the integrity and honesty of people in West Virginia. It’s still a family-oriented place full of honest, hard-working people.”
He said he’s never leaving home again. “I plan to stay,” Simmerman said. “The speed of life is right here.”
In addition to being admitted to practice before the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, Simmerman is admitted to practice before the United States District Courts for the Northern and Southern districts of West Virginia.