West Virginia acting DHHR Secretary Rocco Fucillo told a group of state lawmakers late last week that he followed the law when he placed three agency employees on leave last year.
“It’s easy to say things in the press and cast aspersions upon people easily,” Fucillo said. “But I did the correct thing, the proper thing, I followed the law.”
Fucillo made the personnel moves after the three workers were accused of improperly intervening in a state contract award. They say they were trying to stop the agency from awarding its multimillion dollar advertising and marketing contract to the highest bidder.
Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants announced in January that no criminal charges will be filed against former DHHR general counsel Jennifer Taylor, deputy secretary for legal affairs Susan Perry or former agency spokesman John Law.
“Because there is no criminal intent, there is insufficient evidence to prosecute any violation of criminal law,” Plants said at the time.
There remains a civil suit against the state and Fucillo from Perry and Taylor. So he told members of the House of Delegates Finance Committee back on Friday he couldn’t say much but he knows what he did was right.
“Do you think in my tenth day on the job I really wanted to do something like that?” Fucillo asked. “I have 25 years of experience as a lawyer, I’m not an idiot. I don’t want to do something I didn’t have to do. But I had no choice under the circumstances to take the action taken.”
Law was fired Jan. 23. Taylor lost her job on Feb. 4.
A member of the finance committee told Fucillo the whole controversy doesn’t look good on the state. The acting secretary indicated he’ll tell all one day.
“I’ll be glad sir the day this litigation is all over myself, which I don’t control, and I’ll be the first to sit down and talk to you about everything else,” Fucillo said.