CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Board of Education is holding two days of meetings in Charleston this week but former Hardy County School Superintendent Barbara Whitecotton won’t be part of them.
Whitecotton, who was appointed to the state school board by Gov. Jim Justice back in January, was not confirmed by the state Senate Sunday after Justice requested her name be removed from consideration.
Whitecotton, who did not resign, told the Charleston Gazette-Mail Monday the removal didn’t make any sense. She said no one from the governor’s office had communicated with her.
Justice Chief of Staff Nick Casey said Tuesday on MetroNews “Talkline” the governor decided to remove his request for confirmation about receiving a call from the Senate Confirmations Committee.
“They said there were some groups who thought there may be some better ways to go than that particular appointee and asked if the governor’s office would be willing to send a letter up to withdraw the name,” he said.
Casey said he didn’t know the particular groups or the particular concerns they had with Whitecotton. The call came from Confirmations Committee Chairwoman Donna Boley (R-Pleasants), who told the Gazette-Mail she made the call to Casey. Boley wouldn’t tell the newspaper what groups had expressed the concern with Whitecotton.
Casey said it was getting down to the final hours of the session and the Senate was considering more than 80 appointments made by the governor.
“You have to just deal with it. It was the 11th hour and that’s how we dealt with it. We got the request and that’s how we dealt with it with the committee,” he said.
Whitecotton, even though not confirmed, played a role in several key decisions during his brief time on the board including the selection of new state School Superintendent Steve Paine.
There are now two openings on the board because Board Vice President Chuck Hatfield, also a January appointee by Justice, resigned last week to help care for his ill mother.