SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. – A state senator says the Thursday firing of state Ethics Commission Executive Director Joan Parker may be more about the day-to-day operations of the commission office than a questionable legislative lobbying effort earlier this year.
Sen. Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson, told MetroNews Friday members of the state Senate Confirmation Committee questioned the operations during this year’s legislative session when they were interviewing commission nominees.
“The website was not updated. The minutes had not been put on their website for public access for quite a long time, maybe as long as a year,” Snyder recalled.
Parker had been executive director for approximately 16 months when she was immediately let go on a 5-4 commission vote. Before that she was the commission’s general counsel and before that deputy counsel. She began work there in 2006. Members refused to say afterward why they fired her. Some did mention Parker was a will and pleasure employee.
Snyder said he and other senators were just trying to find out some general information during confirmation hearings.
“We hadn’t been able to find the minutes (from commission meetings) and things like that the public needs to have access to,” he said.
There was also a commission-directed lobbying effort by Parker during the session that Snyder had originally questioned but he said Friday he doesn’t think that caused her firing.
Lawmakers ended up approving a governor supported bill reconstituting the make-up of the Ethics Commission. Snyder said it will now be easier for the governor to appoint members.
“They were having a tough time getting people to serve because you had to fit in to certain, solid categories,” Snyder said.
The law calls for the governor to make seven appointments after July 1.