THREE MILE CURVE, W.Va. — The dispute over the employment contract for superintendent of Logan County schools Phyllis Doty continued at the May 24 meeting of the Logan County Board of Education (LCBOE).
The disagreement originated Feb. 25, 2016 when an alleged hiccup in Robert’s Rules of Order on a vote to renew Doty’s contract left many in the room stunned and produced rancor and scorn among parents, taxpayers and board members.
On Feb. 26, 2016, the Logan Banner reported the board’s back and forth surrounding the motion to approve a contract extension for Doty.
After the motion to approve the contract extension was made, board member Dr. Pat Joe White explained the motion needed to be seconded.
A long silence followed.
Eventually, Pat White noted, “Alright, the motion dies for lack of a second.”
After Pat White’s statement, board member Chad Preston added, “I will make a second.”
Board member Phyllis Adkins protested saying Pat White had declared the vote failed.
LCBOE attorney Shana Thompson asked, “Is there still a motion pending?”
Pat White replied, “Yes.”
Eventually it was decided Preston had seconded the motion, and the contract extension was approved in a three to two vote.
Adkins and fellow board member Debbie Mendez voted against the extension.
At the group’s first regular meeting in May, public presentations by board members-elect Paul Hardesty, Jeremy Farley and Dr. Ed White requested Doty’s four year contract be dropped to one year.
Hardesty, Farley and Ed White are set to join Mendez and Pat White on the LCBOE July 1.
A letter from Thompson to the board members reportedly advised rescinding Doty’s contract could expose the board to legal action from Doty.
The most recent issue orbiting the superintendent’s contract arose from an action item concerning an amendment to the agreement.
Pat White opened discussion of the agenda’s action items saying, “It has been suggested to me that because we have some items on this agenda that we have had some research and some further clarification on that we go into executive session.”
Mendez commented, “I think we should stay out here for her [Doty’s] contract.”
In a carefully worded motion to table the action item, Mendez noted, “I would ask that we get a formal opinion from outside counsel, Mr. Howard Seufer, concerning this entire contract process. I would ask that Mr. Seufer advise us as to the legitimacy of this contact taking into consideration the following: all phases of the contract negotiation or lack thereof, the genesis of, the author of, and any and all persons offering language and terms and by what authority in the contract renewal. If Mr. Suefer informs the board that the contract is valid, I would also ask that he advise this board as to the ability to further amend this contract prior to June 1.”
Mendez’s motion was unanimously approved.
A special meeting was arranged for 9:30 a.m. on May 31 to deal with the matter. The meeting will be held at the Ralph R. Willis Career and Technical Center.
Owen Wells is a reporter for Civitas Media. He can be reached at 304-752-6950 ext. 1729 or by email at [email protected]