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Ethics Commission director to leave

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The executive director of the state Ethics Commission is stepping down.

Theresa Kirk, who has served as executive director since February 2009, has requested the commission approve an employment exemption for her at its meeting on Thursday, so she can seek employment in the private sector.

"I'm at the point in my life, from a professional and personal level, where it's time for me to make a change," said Kirk, who had been the commission's legal counsel for more than five years prior to being named executive director.

"I've got nine years with the commission. It's been a great honor, and I've enjoyed working with the commissioners," she said.

In addition to Kirk's employment exemption, commissioners Thursday will discuss a transition plan for hiring a new executive director.

In its 23-year history, the commission has had only three executive directors. Rick Alker served as executive director from the commissioner's inception in 1989 through 2004. He was succeeded by Lew Brewer, who served until his retirement on Jan. 31, 2009.

Like Kirk, Brewer had served as the Ethics Commission's legal counsel for four years before becoming executive director.

Kirk said she anticipates staying on through the first of the year to assist with the transition, and to help the commission prepare its 2013 legislative agenda, which may include proposed modifications of the state Open Meetings Act.

That law has been in the news recently, after the state Board of Education apparently violated the act when it failed to post notice of its intent to fire Superintendent Jorea Marple at its meeting last month.

"I plan to stay on 60 to 90 days, to assist in the transition," Kirk said Monday. 

Reach Phil Kabler at philk@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.


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