CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The final two wrongful termination lawsuits against West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner were settled Thursday, bringing the total cost of the state to at least $3.2 million.
Former investigators Thomas Ranson and Jeff Shriner settled their suits for $50,000 each. Warner fired both men several months after he took office, and Ranson and Shriner said the factors in Warner’s decision were their political affiliation and age.
Both officers worked for Natalie Tennant, the Democratic secretary of state who lost to Warner in the 2016 election.
Warner previously expressed his disappointment with the settlements and the related work by the Board of Risk and Insurance Management, which he did again Thursday.
“He repeatedly and very clearly articulated his concerns to BRIM regarding the settlement of any and all of the cases regarding the dismissal of at-will employees,” his office said in a statement.
The office said each of the 12 dismissed employees who brought forward lawsuits was classified as at-will employees, something the office said the employees acknowledged with a signed contract.
“Secretary Warner was very clear in his demand to BRIM to take each case to a jury of taxpayers giving Secretary Warner the opportunity to publicly explain and defend his decisions. Secretary Warner was not given that opportunity,” the statement continued. “At this point, Secretary Warner will meet with the Governor and legislators from both parties in an effort to bring changes to BRIM and to protect the right for constitutional officers to hire and dismiss at-will employees.”