Claim Filed Against Wetzel Board Member

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Claim Filed Against Wetzel Board Member
Lauren Matthews - Staff Writer, Wetzel Chronicle

At Monday night's meeting of the Wetzel County Board of Education, parent Johnna Harter spoke concerning an incident that occured at the Nov. 2 board of education meeting.

Harter said her son had spoke at the board meeting and was approached by a board member after the meeting. Harter said the board member acted "very inappropriately."

Harter said she has been told "nothing can be done."

"There is something that can be done," Harter said.

Harter went on to say that she filed a claim with the West Virginia Board of Ethics and is awaiting their action. She said she will also be circulating a petition calling for the removal of the board member from his position. Harter said she needs 50 registered voters of Wetzel County to sign. She said she is charging that the board member has shown official misconduct.

Harter said the charges and petition would be entered into record at the courthouse and the board member would be summoned to appear and answer to the charges.

Previously Harter, along with her son Evan Harter, had told the Wetzel Chronicle that Board Member Bob Patterson had used inappropriate language toward Evan at the Nov. 2 board meeting. When first speaking to the board Monday night, Harter used Patterson's name. However Harter was directed by Board President Mike Blair to not use names of personnel in her presentation, per board policy.

However, on Monday, Nov. 16 Patterson approached the Wetzel Chronicle and issued a public apology. Patterson said he made a mistake and regrets his actions in using an inappropriate term, but contends that the language he used was not directed toward Evan. Patterson said he had approached Evan at the board meeting in an effort to address Evan's concerns and to offer assistance. Patterson said the use of an inappropriate term was not connected nor associated with Evan in any way.

Patterson was not present at Monday night's board meeting.

Also at Monday night's meeting, Harter addressed alleged nepotism in the school system.

"Recently there has been concern that new employees hired here may not be the most qualified."

Harter said other counties in West Virginia have policies that include a section on nepotism. Harter stated that Wetzel County does not but "I think it's time we did.