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State official fired for no apparent reason


Published: Friday, November 30, 2012

Updated: Friday, November 30, 2012 00:11

State superintendent of schools, Jorea Marple, was abruptly stripped of her title Nov. 15 following a 5-2 vote on behalf of state Board of Education members. Marple had no reason to suspect her termination from the position, and following the determination was given no explanation or cause for dismissal.

Voting on her employment status had not been listed as an item of business on the board’s Nov. 15 meeting agenda, but instead was determined after board members had convened for executive session. Upon their return, a vote among board members prompted the termination of Marple. The means of dismissal were under dispute for violation of the open meeting’s law.

In response to the violation, the board met yesterday to make an official determination. Following testimonies from 19 people speaking on behalf of Marple, the board voted once more—the board once more supported the removal of Marple from her position, this time 6-2. Board members Priscilla Haden and Jenny Phillips voted in Marple’s favor both yesterday and Nov. 15. The two have expressed their intention to resign from their positions, effective Dec. 31, in protest of the board’s decision.

There is an apparent divide on the Board of Education as Sen. Joe Manchin, during his governorship, appointed four of the five members who chose to oust Marple. Among them is his wife, Gayle Manchin.

Additionally, before Marple was appointed to the position in March 2011, she had been among a pool of finalists for the job that included Mark Manchin, executive director of the state School Building Authority, and cousin of Sen. Manchin.

It should also be noted that Marple’s husband is former West Virginia Attorney General, Darrell McGraw who lost his bid for reelection Nov. 6 after serving five terms in the position.

Perhaps there is some evidence of suspicious activity, or perhaps the board was simply anxious for a change of leadership in advance of the 2013 legislative session. There is certainly reason for speculation.

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