MINUTES WEST VIRGINIA BOARD OF EDUCATION
Board Conference Room
Capitol Building 6, Room 353
1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East
Charleston, West Virginia
November 6, 2002
I. Call to Order
President H. M. Persinger, Jr., called the emergency meeting of the West Virginia Board of Education to order at 4:02 p.m. on November 6, 2002, in Board Conference Room, Capitol Building 6, Room 353, 1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East, Charleston, West Virginia.
In addition to President Persinger, members present were: Vice-President Sandra M. Chapman, Secretary Ronald B. Spencer, Barbara N. Fish, Sheila M. Hamilton (via telephone), Paul J. Morris, David Stewart, State Superintendent of Schools and J. Michael Mullen, Chancellor, the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. Member absent: Delores W. Cook.
II. Statement of Purpose
President Persinger announced to those present that the purpose of the meeting was to (1) inform members of the progress of the current investigation regarding 2001 flood expenditures in McDowell and Wyoming Counties, and (2) the recent involvement of certain Department staff in the Office of Education Performance Audit of Fayette County.
Eric Eyre addressed the Board and read portions of the open meetings law and requested the meeting be held in open session. He also read portions of the Freedom of Information Act and indicated that he had verbally requested a copy of G. A. McClung's resumè. Mr. McClung has refused to allow his resumè to be released.
President Persinger questioned Rebecca Tinder, General Counsel to the Board and the Department, regarding Mr. Eyre's request for Mr. McClung's resumè. Mr. McClung has advised both Mr. Eyre and Attorney Tinder that he would not agree voluntarily for the Department to release his resumè. Attorney Tinder indicated that she had contacted the Attorney General's office for an interpretation as to whether the Department's employee handbook should be construed as a contract with the employee which does not allow the release of this information without the employee's consent. Furthermore, Attorney Tinder indicated that, under the Freedom of Information Act, the Department has five (5) days from the receipt of today's written request to respond to the Freedom of Information Act request. President Persinger stressed the Board's concern to simultaneously protect both Mr. McClung's right to privacy, if any, under his contract of employment and the public's right to know and directed Ms. Tinder to expedite action on the Eyre request.
IV. Approval of Agenda
Ronald B. Spencer moved and Paul J. Morris seconded that the agenda, as presented, be approved. Before voting on said motion Mr. Morris questioned whether the discussion concerning the Fayette County Education Audit should be added to the agenda. It was the consensus of those present that Mr. Morris was correct and Mr. Spencer and Mr. Morris agreed and did amend their motion accordingly.
Upon the call for the question the Board unanimously approved the agenda, as amended.
V. Fayette County Education Audit
Dr. Kenna R. Seal, Director, Office of Education Performance Audits, addressed the Board regarding the recent Fayette County Education Audit and explained the procedures that govern audits.
VI. Probe into 2001 Flood Expenditures in McDowell
and Wyoming Counties
President Persinger announced that, in his opinion, this item involved the following three inquiries: (1) making certain that all Board and Department of Education staff have been and will continue to cooperate with all agencies investigating this matter; (2) a report from the Superintendent as to what measures have been implemented to assure the public that suitable protective measures have been implemented, and (3) to receive a report from the Superintendent as to what his internal investigation had thus far disclosed.
President Persinger indicated that matters (1) and (2) could be discussed in open session but that matter (3) was suitable for discussion only in executive session.
A. Agency Cooperation with Investigations
Superintendent Stewart addressed the Board and indicated that all employees have been fully cooperating with any and all investigations. Employees have been instructed to be open and honest in all dealings. Rebecca Tinder is handling the internal investigation. Discussion ensued regarding the resignation of G. A. McClung, the timeline for completion of investigations, and the process utilized for replacing items destroyed in the 2001 flood.
B. Stop Gap Measure
Superintendent Stewart stated that the Division of Administrative Services is now under his direct supervision. Dr. Stewart has had extensive experience with this division and is well-equipped to administer all aspects of the division. The division will continue to follow all purchasing guidelines and procedures of the State of West Virginia. A timeline for posting the vacant position of Assistant State Superintendent of the Division of Administrative Services caused by the resignation of G. A. McClung has not been established.
C. Progress of Superintendent's Internal Investigation
At this juncture, President Persinger requested a motion to go into an executive session to discuss matters involving attorney/client privilege (W.Va. Code 6-9A-3) and personnel (W.Va. Code 6-9A-4(b)(2)(a).
Such a motion was made by Paul J. Morris, second by Sandra M. Chapman, and was unanimously carried. The Board entered into Executive Session at 4:37 p.m.
IX. Return from Executive Session
The Board returned from Executive Session at 7:07 p.m. at which time President Persinger announced no action was taken or decisions made.
X. Future Meetings
The next regular meeting of the West Virginia Board of Education will be held November13-14, 2002 in Gilmer County, West Virginia.
Upon motion by Paul J. Morris, second by Sandra M. Chapman, the Board adjourned at 7:09 p.m.
Minutes approved by the Board on December 12, 2002.
H. M. Persinger, Jr., President