CHARLESTON - A Kanawha Circuit Judge recently denied an injunction request from the suspended director of the Regional Education Service Agency in Beckley, opting instead to send the complaint before the State Employees Grievance Board.
Judge Jennifer Bailey Walker issued the decision June 16 regarding Carol Morgan's petition against the West Virginia Board of Education, Board President Lowell Johnson and state Superintendent Steven Paine.
Walker said the matter should have been taken to the grievance board before being brought into Kanawha Circuit Court.
Morgan claims the state Board did not follow the proper procedure when determining her suspension, which stems from federal officials' investigation of the disappearance of approximately $1.3 million from RESA over the past eight years.
On March 23, Morgan, a resident of Wyoming County, says her employment became an issue after she spoke up regarding the missing funds. She claims that because that matter wasn't on the meeting agenda and she wasn't offered a choice between having an open meeting or closed session, it was an illegally conducted meeting.
She also contends that the Board took secret and unsworn testimony of numerous witnesses while excluding her and her attorney.
She adds there was another meeting regarding her employment on April 13 where there was no record taken and no witnesses present.
Another meeting was to be held May 1, though Morgan says a letter was sent to her attorney, Erwin Conrad, saying if Morgan would retire, then no meeting would need to be held.
Morgan didn't retire, and she says she was suspended 90 days without pay. She adds that her position is already promised to someone else.
Morgan is now scheduled to retire at the end of June. Since her suspension began, Deborah Calhoun pleaded guilty to embezzlement and filing a fraudulent tax return. Calhoun was an executive secretary at RESA.
The Board of Education says Morgan was negligent in allowing the embezzlement to take place.
Deputy Attorney General Kelli Talbott represents the state Board of Education. Erwin Conrad of Conrad Law Offices in Fayetteville is representing Morgan.