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Truth about firing needs to come out

December 6, 2012
The Inter-Mountain

Claims former state school Superintendent Jorea Marple was fired because she objected to conflicts of interest involving West Virginia Board of Education members need to be addressed as quickly as possible. It appears it will be up to the state Supreme Court to do that.

Marple was fired once earlier this month. Then, after her supporters insisted the state board handled the matter improperly, its members brought the question up a second time last week. Again, Marple was fired. This time, board members indicated they did not have confidence in her leadership of West Virginia public schools.

But some of Marple's supporters say that is not the reason she was let go. Instead, she was terminated because she objected to no-bid contracts and other contracts in which some board members have interests, according to a brief filed last week with the Supreme Court. The brief was filed by Mountain State Justice of Charleston.

Board member Priscilla Haden and former board member Lowell Johnson agree with that contention, according to a published report.

Board President Wade Linger has said the allegations are not true. "Outrageous" was the word he chose to describe the claim.

It is an exceedingly serious allegation, as Marple herself should understand. Her husband, Attorney General Darrell McGraw, has handed out no-bid contracts to attorneys who made contributions to his political campaigns. McGraw was defeated in the Nov. 6 election.

Regardless of who is involved in conflicts of interest involving taxpayers' money, they are wrong - and often are illegal.

But allegations are just that - claims of misconduct that should carry no weight unless they are proven.

This is not merely one more case of a fired employee making serious allegations against a former employer, however. With legislators ready to discuss sweeping education reforms early next year, the state board's credibility is of immediate importance to West Virginians.

Obviously, the Supreme Court must tackle the question according to certain rules of procedure. But high court justices should expedite it as much as possible. The truth needs to come out quickly.

 
 

 

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