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Bridgeport sets bar ‘very high’ as host of municipal league conference

The Exponent Telegram

Sunday, August 17, 2014

By: Jim Davis
STAFF WRITER

BRIDGEPORT — Bridgeport officials sought to make a good impression on those who converged on the city last week for the West Virginia Municipal League's 45th annual conference.

Judging by comments from the municipal league's leaders, they didn't disappoint.

"This has been the best conference we've ever had, and I've been here 23 years," said Lisa Dooley, the municipal league's executive director.

"The city of Bridgeport, Clarksburg and all the surrounding cities have been the most gracious hosts," Dooley said. "They've set the bar very high for all host cities that follow."

John Manchester, the mayor of Lewisburg and the league's immediate past president, agreed.

"It's been great," Manchester said. "Bridgeport has been very welcoming. The partnership that Bridgeport has created with its sister city of Clarksburg ... put together as strong a program over a few days as we've ever had.

"The food has been exceptional, and overall the hospitality has been wonderful," Manchester added.

Others who attended the conference also gave Bridgeport a thumbs-up.

"It's nice," Logan Mayor Serafino Nolletti said of the area. "It's the first time I've been to Bridgeport. I'm really impressed with it."

The business meetings and seminars took place at the Bridgeport Conference Center at Charles Pointe, while the 250 municipal leaders from across the state stayed at the Microtel and Wingate.

Seminar topics ranged from planning and leadership to the economy and home rule.

Officials also arranged leisure activities in the evenings. They included a City Showcase outside the conference center, a luau at Clarksburg's Splash Zone and a concert by No Bad JuJu at the Clarksburg Amphitheater.

Bridgeport Recorder Bob Greer, who served on the conference planning committee, said he heard positive comments from visiting municipal leaders all week.

Greer said one individual told him it was the best conference he has attended over 28 years.

"That's just one example of the positive feedback and comments we've gotten about the conference," Greer said.

Greer credited the staffs at Bridgeport and Clarksburg for arranging all the activities at the conference.

He singled out Bridgeport City Clerk Andrea Kerr, Bridgeport Assistant City Manager Jim Smith and Clarksburg City Clerk Annette Wright for their efforts.

"We set a high goal, and fortunately it appears we have met — and possibly exceeded — the expectations of those who attended the conference," Greer said. "We'd like the opportunity to do it again."

Staff writer Jim Davis can be reached at (304) 626-1446 or by email at jdavis@theet.com