One of the most significant powers afforded the Governor is that of appointments, and two pending selections to fill vacancies will be watched closely: Mingo County Circuit Judge and the WVU Board of Governors.

Normally, the appointment of a circuit judge to fill a vacancy would be only of parochial interest, but not so in the case of Mingo County. The seat is open because of the resignation of Michael Thornsbury as a result of the federal corruption probe.

Thornsbury was the lead felon in the nefarious fiefdom that included the county prosecutor, the chief magistrate, a county commissioner and several other miscreants.   Federal investigators have done their part in the ongoing investigation and now the process of selecting a replacement is underway.

The state Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission fulfilled its responsibility admirably Monday by holding thorough and probing interviews with six finalists.  (As a side note, opening those interviews to the public would add even more credibility to the process.)

The two names forwarded to the Governor for consideration are long-time Mingo County Chief Public Defender Teresa McCune and Jonathan Wayne Jewell, a Williamson attorney who works in the public defender’s office.

The Mingo County Public Defender’s office was not part of the Thornsbury faction, nor was it connected with the tainted “Team Mingo” election slate.  One source described both McCune and Jewell as “squeaky clean.”  Another said they “have credibility in the community for honesty and integrity.”

Either would be a good choice for a fresh start in Mingo County, which makes Tomblin’s job easier.

Tomblin must also decide who should replace Charles “Chuck” Vest on the WVU Board of Governors.  Vest, 72, died last week at his home in Arlington, Va., from pancreatic cancer.

The Morgantown native had the kind of intellectual and academic gravitas that added integrity to the Board of Governors. Vest had degrees from WVU and the University of Michigan in mechanical engineering and served as President of M.I.T. from 1990 to 2004.  His myriad accomplishments included serving on an advisory committee for the redesign of the International Space Station.

It won’t be easy to replace Chuck Vest, but qualified people who want to make a contribution to WVU are out there.  The recent decision by E. Gordon Gee to return as interim WVU President is a good indication of that.   Given the size and importance of the WVU medical complex, perhaps someone with significant experience in health care would be appropriate.

Above all, Tomblin has to avoid the temptation of choosing a political crony who may be owed a favor or a high-roller donor whose avocation is meddling in WVU sports.   West Virginia University deserves better than that.

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  • leroy j gibbs

    The bible for christians is the word of God. Sorry if it offends people


    Not to change the subject but Hoppy can you speak to the Duck Dynasty star being let go from his job on A & E?
    What a bunch of crap! They had like 8 million viewers for their special the other night. Of course the Liberals would say only Rednecks watch it! That an awful lot of Rednecks.
    These people amaze me!
    A & E will just be hurting themselves and there bottom line over a man's right to voice his opinions.
    Remember when the owner of Chick Fil A was called out for his statements? And they organized against him? How did that work out?
    They are still in business and full everytime I pass one of their stores.
    Food for thought
    2 Timothy 3
    [1] This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
    [2] For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
    [3] Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
    [4] Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
    [5] Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
    God Bless

  • Hop'sHip

    You know, Hoppy has become so predictable that I had a premonition of this exact commentary a couple days ago when Hoppy was still on break. Let's see if I can foretell tomorrow's commentary. Hmmmm. I see Hoppy coming out in support of homeopathy! He's going to upset a lot of his fans here that believe that only heteropathy is what God intended.

    • Hop'sHubris


      It would be in the best interest of your job if you cover something I find interesting tomorrow. If you neglect to appease me I will refrain myself from any participation in this board discussion and your site will naturally fail with out my superior intellect and snarky wit.

      • The bookman

        I hate to admit it, but hops......I expected a little more after a week in abstentia! Squeaky clean pols in Mingo, really?

    • TheFungoKnows

      An MSNBC commentator last night declared that the US could eliminate, poverty, homelessness, the lower class, welfare, disease, etc. if only the government would send everyone, whether here legally or illegally, a monthly check to pay for rent, government paid insurance, bills, groceries, utilities, car payment, and a stipend for a little spending money.
      The socialist progressives are on the march. They must be stopped AT ALL COSTS!!!!!!

      • Hop'sHubris

        Fungo, forgive me. I have the intellect of a goober-pea and the self-awareness of a corncob.

        • Hop'sHip

          Look out. Fungo's multiple personalities have me surrounded. Thank God Obamacare will provide coverage to address that.

          • sigmund fraud

            Based on the unusually high number of interactions with your post, it is logical to conclude that you are engaging in conversations with yourself.

            Has your Grandmother’s basement grown so cold and damp this time of year she can no longer bring you the needed meds? So sad.

          • Charleston,WV

            Hop's Hip = Cyberbully
            Hop's Hip = Cyber-bully

          • Honey Badger

            Well, there you go again Mr. Hopship.
            You liberals want to build a wall between the liberals and everyone else. Elitists. Tear down that wall Mr. Hopship.
            Those Obama-drones have you paranoid. That clicking noise on your cell phone may not be a bad connection. It might be Obama listening in on you.
            Only thing you have is personal attacks. Typical progressive liberal.

          • Hop'sHip

            I wish to offer my heartfelt apology to cyber for bullying him. Cyber? Is that another one of Fungo's names?

          • Charleston,WV

            Hop's Hip = Cyber bully

      • Hop'sHip

        Hey Fungo. Where can I find out more about this plan? Will I be able to upgrade my Obamaphone? Will that stipend be sufficient to cover my tattoo expense? Man, this sound great. Everyone will be treated like a king, or a Governor of Virginia.

      • Hop'sHip

        At all costs, Fungo? What are you going to contribute? Don't tell us brainpower. You long ago spent any of that you might have had.

        • Hop'sHip

          My mistake. It should have read: AT ALL COSTS!!!!!....Oops. My exclamation point key just broke.

          • Hop'sHubris

            Well, go out and mark a rock!! Someone finally used the colon right..

  • Wowbagger


    Your commentary started me recalling how often in my lifetime the term "squeaky- clean" can be applied to the occupant of the West Virginia Governor's Mansion and I'm having real problems. I think there might have been a couple of terms, but I'm not even sure about those.

  • Hillbilly

    I think they had better look further than Mingo county for candidates for judge. I bet squeaky-clean is only superficial...

  • GregG

    "Above all, Tomblin has to avoid the temptation of choosing a political crony who may be owed a favor or a high-roller donor whose avocation is meddling in WVU sports. West Virginia University deserves better than that." Now I wonder, if the sitting Governor were a Republican if this statement would have even me added. Now it is fine if a republican governor were to do such a thing. Or even someone like Don Blankenship buying political positions in order to profit is "ok". But a Democrat Governor? O' the hypocrisy.

    • Guardian

      Oh for God's sake, give it a rest. Hoppy's statement would be both appropriate and desirable no matter what party a governor belonged to.

      I join Hoppy in this hope - a BOG vacancy is always huge temptation for folks who have a sports agenda. The governor needs to resist this temptation.

      • GregG

        Sure it would have been appropriate and desirable no matter what party was sitting. I was only doubting that it would have been used if a republican would have been governor.

        • Guardian

          And I don't doubt that the same sentiment would have been expressed by Hoppy regardless. That sentiment is almost a no-brainer.

          Neither Repubs nor Dems have the market cornered on the right ideas or the right plans - in actual fact, the best ideas and plans would reflect themes from both parties playbooks.

  • ShinnstonGuy

    Doesn't "a high-roller donor whose avocation is meddling in WVU sports" eliminate your own boss, Hop?

    • Guardian

      I don't think Hoppy's boss would particularly desire or covet this appointment.

    • 2XLPatriot

      No, that was Joe Manchin.

  • 2XLPatriot

    A "High roller" politician avoiding the temptation of appointing a "high roller donor" who is owed a favor? Come on Hoppy! You are suggesting that WV politicians might actually have morals and values? It's been the "Good 'ole boy system" for decades and to think a Good 'ole boy is going to turn his back on another good'ole boy is pure fantasy.

  • Jesse's girl

    Define "squeaky clean" in Mingo County.

    • Hop'sHip

      I think it's something between Bob McDonnell and Chris Christie.

    • CaptainQ

      Does that even exist?

  • Joe

    How about Mike Garrison?!