WEST LOGAN, W.Va. — At its Feb. 25 meeting, the Logan County Board of Education (LCBOE) affirmed its commitment to build an auxiliary gym at Chapmanville Regional High School (CRHS), started the planning phase of construction of an auxiliary gym at Man High School and renewed superintendent Phyllis Doty’s contract until 2020.
The meeting at the board’s central office in West Logan was packed to standing room only capacity. Many residents from Chapmanville came to the meeting seeking answers to the question of the auxiliary gym at CHRS.
After word spread on social media the board was considering nixing the auxiliary gym at CRHS and some reportedly claimed the LCBOE was going to build the auxiliary gym at Man High School rather than CRHS, residents and community leaders from the Chapmanville area flooded the board’s Feb. 11 meeting and demanded reaffirmation of the project from the board.
On Feb. 21, the Logan Banner reported the LCBOE had officially reaffirmed its commitment to the auxiliary gym project at CRHS.
In a press release, superintendent Doty put forth the following statement, “Unfortunately, there has been a misunderstanding concerning the auxiliary gym, but I want everyone to know this project was never in danger.”
At the Feb. 25 meeting, the LCBOE passed an action item allowing the board to proceed with site identification, budget preparation and solicitation of design bids for an auxiliary gym at Man High School.
The board also approved architectural designs and allowed for further core drilling and surveying for the auxiliary gym at CHRS.
It was the vote to renew superintendent Doty’s contract until 2020 that produced heated words and rancor among the board members.
Before a vote on Doty’s contract was taken, board member Phyllis Adkins stated she had concerns about the provenance of the action item to extend the contact.
Adkins asked, “Who put this on the agenda?”
Shana Thompson, attorney for the LCBOE responded, “Mr. Frye contacted me as president of the board and told me to prepare the contract.”
Adkins explained the action item which would extend Doty’s contact was a surprise to her and that no one had informed her the board would be taking action on the issue.
Board member Debbie Mendez asked, “Why can’t we table this after the election? We have two regular members…After Logan County votes for whoever they want to represent them as a board of education, then we’ll have three regular members back on that will be able to vote for [Doty]. Let’s table this until after the election when we have regular board members on.”
Board member Dr. Pat Joe White responded, “I don’t think we can. I’ll be quite honest: the reason why we can’t is because this has to be done by May.”
Adkins noted, “That’s right but you can put it on another board meeting until we find out the details.”
A motion by Adkins to pull the item from the agenda failed to pass a vote.
Eventually, LCBOE president Jim Frye, who attended the meeting via telephone, moved the motion to extend Doty’s contact be put up for a vote.
After White explained the motion needed to be seconded, a long silence fell in the room.
White noted, “Alright, the motion dies for lack of a second.”
After White’s statement, newly appointed board member Chad Preston added, “I will make a second.”
“No it’s too late,” exclaimed Adkins. White had already said the vote had failed.
Thompson asked, “Is there still a motion pending?”
White replied, “Yes.”
Adkins turned to the crowd and said, “This is politics people.”
Eventually it was decided Preston had seconded the vote.
Frye, Preston and White voted to renew Doty’s contract and Mendez and Adkins voted not to renew.
At the end of the meeting, Adkins stated, “I think Mr. Preston hesitated…for the second. I want you people to know that I’m not for sale. I do not make promises. I do not take bribes. As a 20 year veteran I feel I have served the Logan County School system. I was quite upset. Why wasn’t I contacted…about Mrs. Doty’s contract? I will continue to check into this and see what’s happening.
Adkins requested copies of the meeting’s audio transcripts stating she would take them to Charleston to be examined.
Owen Wells is a reporter for Civitas Media. He can be reached at 304-752-6950 ext. 1729 or by email at [email protected]