Pictured, from left, are City of Buckhannon Public Works Director Jerry Arnold, finance and administrative director Amberle Jenkins and mayor David McCauley sharing a laugh at the mayor's 'goodbye'/birthday party Monday.

City employees celebrate McCauley’s accomplishments, birthday with two of his favorite things — proclamations and possums

BUCKHANNON — In his 50-plus months in office, Buckhannon Mayor David McCauley doled out more than 219 proclamations.

While some recognized current residents’ exemplary volunteerism, others commemorated valuable historical contributions of long-passed Buckhannonites.

So, on Monday, June 29, just two days before McCauley will hand the municipal reins to mayor-elect Robbie Skinner, city officials and employees conspired to draft and deliver to the outgoing mayor a proclamation of his own.

Monday, the 29th, also happened to be McCauley’s 62nd birthday, city finance and administrative director Amberle Jenkins pointed out with glee.

Former city recorder and mayor Nancy Shobe, front at center, said McCauley put more of his heart into his work as CEO of the city than any other mayor with whom she’s worked.

City attorney Tom O’Neill drafted and read the proclamation, which poked fun at the mayor, at a surprise early-evening party in Jawbone Park. Prior to winning the title of mayor May 10, 2016, McCauley served as city attorney for over 30 years.

The tables are turned as city attorney Tom O’Neill reads a proclamation honoring outgoing mayor David McCauley, who has drafted nearly 220 proclamations during his four years in office.

“Whereas David McCauley is nothing, if not prolific in honoring individuals who have made a positive and lasting contribution to our B-U Community, and now it’s his turn to let the speechifying and ‘whereas clauses’ be read by someone and whereas, he really likes the use of whereas clauses and whereas, we wouldn’t dream of letting him down when it comes to the overuse of such whereas clauses,” O’Neill read.

Although the document was sprinkled with humor — it noted that during his tenure as mayor he’s grown ‘to appreciate the value and utility of cellphones, no longer throwing them out of moving car windows but instead using them to capture precious family members’ — it additionally hit some serious tones of appreciation.

From left, Buckhannon Fire Chief J.B. Kimble, zoning inspector Vincent Smith and Buckhannon Police Chief Matt Gregory attend McCauley’s party.

O’Neill said McCauley had clearly taken the advice of his late father who told him to always leave things a little better than he’d found them.

“The city is much much better off than it was 50-and-a-half months ago when he was elected on May 10, 2016,” O’Neill said. Joking that McCauley keeps his middle name, which begins with a ‘W,’ a “closely guarded secret” he announced that the city employees were “hereby declaring Monday, June 29, 2020 David Wellington McCauley Day throughout all of Upshur County.”

But the party wasn’t over yet.

Next, city Public Works Director Jerry Arnold presented McCauley with an ‘Awesome Possum’ shirt to commemorate his establishment of the award, which sprang from an unfortunate incident in the mayor’s kitchen that pitted McCauley against a wild possum that ventured into his kitchen, and eventually, his refrigerator, in June of 2017.

Public Works Director Jerry Arnold gifts McCauley with an ‘Awesome Possum’ shirt to commemorate the award he established after a possum illegally broke into his home one June night in 2017.

After calling the Buckhannon City Police, McCauley coined the Awesome Possum Award to recognize Sgt. William Courtney and Sgt. Darin Hissam for swiftly and professionally removing the varmint.

“There was a post on Facebook that said there would be no more Awesome Possum awards after the mayor was defeated, and so we took that as a challenge,” Arnold said. “So, with that being said, the city employees with the help of The Sign Guy want to award you with this Awesome Possum T-shirt.”

Arnold thanked The Sign Guy employees Tim Miller, at left, and Justin Gaither for creating the Awesome Possum shirt and a plaque marking some of the mayor’s most iconic moments.

Arnold also presented McCauley with a print of the top of his birthday cake, featuring a collage of iconic mayoral moments and markers.

“Wow,” said McCauley. “I don’t know what to say — I was just heading down to get a roast beef sandwich at C.J. Maggie’s. This is spectacular.”

McCauley prepares to dig into his cake.
From left, city recorder Randy Sanders, city architect Bryson VanNostrand and councilwoman Mary Albaugh watch as O’Neill proclaims Monday ‘David Wellington McCauley Day’ throughout Upshur County.
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