Morrisey begins A.G. Office overhaul
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is soliciting suggestions from state employees -- past and present -- on how to overhaul the office.
Morrisey, the state's first Republican attorney general in 80 years, sent an email last week to more than 100 people. The list included Morrisey's staff members and employees who work for other state offices -- the Treasurer, Auditor, Secretary of State, Supreme Court and Purchasing Division.
Morrisey, who replaced Darrell McGraw and started on the job last week, asked employees to submit their suggestions in writing by Jan. 30. He plans to look over the ideas before implementing "best practices and policies and procedures for managing our office," according to the email.
"We are currently conducting a comprehensive review of all systems and policies in place in our office, and are already actively making changes to establish basic, modern systems that reflect good management practices," Morrisey told the Gazette on Tuesday. "We will benefit from the feedback of all existing employees, as well as other experts in the state of West Virginia."
Several people included on Morrisey's email list, such as former commerce secretary Kelley Goes, no longer work in state government. The list also includes former chief deputy attorney general Fran Hughes and former deputy attorney general/Appellate Division Dawn Warfield, who left the office after the election. Morrisey's email also was sent to McGraw's former campaign spokeswoman, Denise Tucker.
Morrisey said he used an outdated office email "LISTSERV," left behind by McGraw, who lost the November election. Morrisey said the out-of-date list is one of numerous problems he has inherited from his predecessor.
"Any time you take over an organization, you also inherit systems and policies that need to be upgraded," Morrisey said Tuesday. "This includes ... how the office communicates with employees through its LISTSERVs, the lack of a workable docket-management system, an antiquated [information technology] system, no meaningful conflicts-check system and no functioning voicemail in many offices."
In the email, Morrisey asks staff members and other state employees to suggest ways to improve the Attorney General's Office.
"What are the major challenges that may impede our ability to serve our client interests efficiently or effectively?" Morrisey asks in the email. "What changes can we make to help you on a day-to-day basis serve the state more efficiently and effectively?"
According to the email, Morrisey plans to start "close reviews of many of the existing systems in place in our office."
During his campaign, Morrisey promised to conduct a "full-scale audit" of office policies and spending practices. Morrisey said he would hold staff members to the "highest ethical standards.
"The ongoing review is one of multiple parts of a more comprehensive review of the entire Attorney General's Office that will be undertaken during the first few months of my administration," Morrisey said Tuesday.
In the mass email, Morrisey also notified state employees that he wanted to share his "philosophy and thoughts" on the office.
Morrisey wrote that the Attorney General's Office "must be one of the principal guardians of the rule of law" -- making decisions based on legal principles.
"Every day, the public counts on us to act as faithful interpreters, counselors and enforcers of the law, in a manner that is free from political interference, personal bias or untoward arrangements," he said in the email, which was sent out Friday.
Morrisey went on to say, "The public wants us to defend West Virginia's sovereignty, represent our clients with great skill and advocacy, rigorously enforce consumer protection laws, and live and practice law in accordance with the highest ethical standards."
Additionally, Morrisey announced plans to hold an "all employee" staff meeting next week to discuss new office policies. He said he will introduce his top aides at the meeting.
"I look forward to meeting with you and discussing how we enhance our ability to serve the public effectively and best advance the rule of law," Morrisey wrote in the email. "Together, we will accomplish great things."
Reach Eric Eyre at email@example.com or 304-348-4869.