(Neither Morrisey or new Agriculture Commissioner Walt Helmick have made any new hires in the past week, since no WV-11s were submitted.)
Speaking of Morrisey, his campaign staffers organized a GOP inaugural reception [last] Monday evening -- which some legislative lobbyists interpreted as an act of defiance toward the official gubernatorial inaugural activities.
(Of course, it could be that after three straight years of campaign contributions, the lobbyists weren't keen about being hit up for sponsorships of not one, but two inaugural receptions ... )
However, House Minority Leader Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, who was a speaker and co-host for the event, said it was not intended to be a slight or act of contempt toward Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin or the Democrats, but simply an opportunity to celebrate Republican gains in the Legislature, and in two statewide elected offices.
The fact the GOP reception started at 5 p.m. was designed to allow participants to attend it, and go onto the inaugural ball afterward, Armstead said, noting that many guests were in tuxes and formalwear for that reason.
Also, he said, several Democrats attended the GOP reception, notably Secretary of State Natalie Tennant as well as Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall.
Finally, unlike their colleague John Law, whose final day as communications director for the Department of Health and Human Resources [was] Wednesday, DHHR attorneys Susan Perry and Jennifer Taylor last week got yet another 30-day extension of their paid administrative leave, which will take it out to seven months, for those keeping track.
The difference? Perry and Taylor's lawsuit against acting DHHR Secretary Rocco Fucillo. They were scheduled to have a hearing Thursday in Kanawha Circuit Court to submit names for sworn depositions in the whistleblower suit, but Fucillo's attorney asked that the hearing be laid over to March 1.
At seven months, this could be the longest internal investigation in state government history. (Particularly since the basic facts of the matter are not in dispute, and the "evidence" has been secured in locked offices on DHHR premises.)
One theory is that as long as the investigation is ongoing, Fucillo has job security, since if Tomblin were to boot him out, he could claim his dismissal/demotion was part of some sort of a cover-up.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.