MORGANTOWN, W.Va. Late Tuesday afternoon, Keri Demasi announced she was no longer employed by Bartlett Housing Solutions, and the issue became a major concern for members of the city council in Morgantown during their regular meeting.

Via social media Demasi said in part, Effective today, I am no longer the Executive Director of Bartlett Housing Solutions. Today, I was terminated. I wish I could say that this was a surprise. It was not. I knew the minute I spoke out about the extensive corruption, lies, coverup, collusion, extensive conflicts of interest, and multiple other things that my time was ticking. I tried for nearly two years to get people to do the right thing, and I failed at doing so. I only hoped that the truth would come out before it was too late. Unfortunately, the corruption is so much deeper than I even realized, and it was inside the organization as much as it was outside.”

Demasi ended her statement by saying, “They may have taken my position from me, but they did not and will not ever take my integrity.”

Seventh Ward councilor Brian Butcher said this is a crisis that is continuing to develop. On Tuesday, Butcher said he had six requests for housing, and while he noted that was a high number, he said the city should prepare for what may happen over the next six months.

“No matter what the future of Bartlett Housing Solutions is, we have to consider the future of the city, and we’re going to approach this moment,” Butcher said.

Looking ahead and reflecting on the effort to establish an emergency warming shelter this year, Fifth Ward representative Danielle Trumble suggested they draft a Request for Proposal (RFP) to identify the cost and an organization to run the operation well in advance of the winter of 2024.

“I think it would behoove us to put out an RFP for a warming shelter,” Trumble said. “We would be able to tell people about the potential funding we have available and ask them to come to us with their plans now.”

Butcher, also a board member at Rainbow House, a shelter for the LGBTQ+ community, said they have been attempting to place Bartlett Housing Solutions clients with little success. Butcher also said other shelters continue sending clients with the impression there is room in Morgantown. A high-risk person was sent from Pittsburgh for shelter, and they were working to help meet those needs.

“Everywhere we’re looking is full,” Butcher said. “We had someone go to Charleston late last week, and it tapped them out, so it’s a bit of a dire situation.”

According to Butcher, a lack of caseworkers is creating a bottleneck and, in some cases, preventing people from accessing some housing options. The hotel program, which is expected to be funded in about four weeks, can only accept clients with a casework history. One unqualified person causing an issue with that program could jeopardize shelter for several others.

“If we could help with funding to get an employee that does case management,” Butcher said. “I feel like that’s a huge bottleneck that I’m seeing right now, and in conversations with other service providers like Milan Puskar Health Right, that’s also a bottleneck they’re seeing.”

Representative from the Third Ward, Weez Michael, reported there were 38 accidents and one fatality on slick roads Tuesday from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. Michael said it was unacceptable that the roads were not pretreated and sent a complaint to the governor’s office, asking at least why the bridges were not treated.

“I got to tell you they responded quickly. I got several emails from the governor’s office, and they began a report on the accidents.

Morgantown city clerk Christine Wade told council members that out of 20 applicants to be entry-level police officers, eight took the written test, agility test, and interview with the Police Civil Service Commission, and four passed. The next testing date has yet to be set for June.

The Morgantown Fire Department will host an agility testing event on April 6 at 10 a.m. at the Northside Fire Station. Those interested are asked to complete a job interest form found here.