State BOE seat vacant for more than a year

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By The Associated Press

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Education is waiting for the governor to fill a seat that’s been vacant for more than a year.

Priscilla Haden, a Republican from the 2nd Congressional District, resigned in December 2012 following the board’s firing of former Schools Superintendent Jorea Marple. About a month later, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin replaced another board member who resigned, Jenny Phillips, appointing Tina Combs, executive director of the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce, to fill Phillips’ seat.

Tomblin’s spokesman, Chris Stadelman, told the Charleston Daily Mail the governor is reviewing the vacancy created by Haden’s resignation because there are statutory requirements that must be met before someone can be appointed.

The seat must be filled by another Republican from the 2nd Congressional District.

State code also requires that no more than five of the Board of Education’s 12 members belong to the same political party. They also cannot be members of a political party executive committee, and cannot hold any other public office or be state or federal employees.

“We are in hopes we will have an appointment soon,” Board of Education President Gayle Manchin told the newspaper.

Manchin said another seat will become vacant later this year when Robert Dunlevy’s term expires.

Board members serve nine-year overlapping terms.

The governor is in charge of filling by appointment 1,629 seats on various boards across the state. There are currently 172 vacancies, including seats on the Consolidated Public Retirement Board, the Regional Jail Authority, the Housing Development Fund, the Jobs Investment Trust and the Library Commission.

Another 527 board seats are filled by members who are serving past the end of their terms.

Tomblin has appointed nearly 800 people to various boards since he became acting governor in November 2010, Stadelman said.

Stadelman said Tomblin makes every effort to keep boards up to date.

Finding the right candidate for the Board of Education is imperative because the board does “a lot of heavy lifting,” said Delegate Amanda Pasdon, minority chairwoman for the House of Delegates Education Committee.