CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A bill backed by WVU and Marshall and other four-year institutions in West Virginia that will give them more say over personnel decisions passed the House of Delegates Tuesday 61-38.

The bill (HB 2542) gives the institution’s more control of their staff personnel by eliminating protections like bumping and recall procedures. The schools say they need the flexibility because of tough economic times that have included millions of dollars in less funding from the state.

Del. Barbara Fleischauer (D-Monongalia) said she was disappointed in the lack of discussion between WVU and her delegation from Monongalia County before the bill was introduced.

“This bill was rushed through and sadly it could have been crafted more carefully,” Fleischauer said during Tuesday’s House floor session.

Del. Mike Caputo (D-Marion) continued to call the bill mean-spirited.

“If you’ve been working 25, 30 years and you’re 55-years-old and all you’ve ever done is mop the floor or mow the grass and you’ve worked hard and your back’s wore out–they don’t have to call you back (if you are laid off),” Caputo said.

But bill supporter, House Education Committee Chair Paul Espinosa (R-Jefferson), said the personnel rules have been based so much on seniority that it’s tied the hands of the universities to properly manage their workers.

“If you look at WVU’s peer institutions, the seven public institutions in the Big 12, none of them limit consideration to seniority when making higher education decisions,” Espinosa said. “““`

Del. Andrew Byrd (D-Kanawha) made a motion Tuesday to postpone the vote for one day after hearing from several workers on college campuses about the bill. The motion failed.

The bill now heads to the state Senate for consideration.

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