LOGAN, W.Va. — Superintendent of Logan County Schools Phyllis Doty retired at the July 28 meeting of the Logan County Board of Education (LCBOE).
Doty was not present at the meeting; however, an action item which set her retirement date to Sept. 30 was approved by an unanimous vote from the board.
Doty’s position came under scrutiny after an alleged hiccup in voting procedure occurred on a vote to renew Doty’s contract at the board’s February 25 meeting, and tensions have continued to rise since the seating of three new board members.
Even before Paul Hardesty, Dr. Ed White and Jeremy Farley were seated on the board, they appeared at board meetings inquiring if Doty’s contract could be to shortened to one year rather than four.
A special meeting of the LCBOE has been called for August 2 in which an action item is set to buyout the remaining two months of Doty’s contract.
The tabling of an action item concerning a project to construct an auxiliary gym at Chapmanville Regional High School and discussion between board members and personnel head Elizabeth Thompson were also dominating moments of the meeting.
Director of finances John Brennan and LCBOE president Paul Hardesty posited spending $1.9 million in such uncertain times seemed unwise.
Hardesty commented he would feel more comfortable with the arrangement if the board’s September tax collections weren’t badly hurt by a downturn in the local economy.
Board Member Jeremy Farley noted, “We are supposed to be halfway through this project. I have received numerous calls and messages about why we are not proceeding with [the auxiliary gym project]. I was told we were proceeding on course with this project. Now we are told money was not set aside to complete the project.”
A vote to table the action item awarding the bid for the construction of the auxiliary gym ended in a four to one vote with Farley in the minority.
The board will reportedly be able to see if tax collections can support the auxiliary gym project before the construction bid expires.
Before going into executive session, president Hardesty explained he had been going through the board’s expenditures and found a bill for more than $740 of legal fees regarding a call from Elizabeth Thompson to an attorney in Charleston.
The bill notes Thompson called the attorney to inquire about a board member acting on their own outside of meetings.
Thompson responded, “All I can tell you is that if I contacted an attorney it was based on the superintendent asking me to contact an attorney.”
“It is my understanding as the personnel director you have direct supervision over two employees…Can you tell me what kind of advice you have any reason to ask about a board member acting alone outside of meetings,” noted Hardesty.
Thompson noted she made the call because she was asked to by the superintendent.
Hardesty asked, “If she asked you to jump off the bridge over at Water Street, would you do it?”
Before the board went into executive session, Hardesty explained the board would not be paying the bill saying to Thompson, “When it comes time to pay it, you can pay it. This is tax payer money you’ve spent.”
Owen Wells is a reporter for Civitas Media. He can be reached at 304-752-6950 or by email at [email protected]