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Morrisey fires eight amid 'restructuring'

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey recently fired eight employees as part of an "office restructuring," according to state personnel records filed Monday.

The dismissals include two assistant attorneys general and two employees in the office's Consumer Protection Division.

A Morrisey spokesman would not comment on the firings.

"I cannot comment on personnel issues. Sorry," said Beth Ryan, Morrisey's communications director.

Morrisey, a Republican, announced plans to restructure the office after defeating longtime West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw in November. He has since announced numerous hirings of high-ranking administrators but has kept mum on dismissals.

The recent firings follow the departure of four additional employees -- including Senior Deputy Attorney General Silas Taylor -- who resigned or retired last month.

Those who lost their jobs in recent weeks were assistant attorneys general Greg Skinner and Scott Adkins. Skinner was paid $95,935 a year, while Adkins' salary was $100,540.

Skinner is the husband of Kanawha Circuit Judge Carrie Webster, a Democrat who defeated Morrisey's chief of staff, Dan Greear, in the 2010 election. Greear, a Republican, also was an unsuccessful candidate for attorney general in 2008.

The other employees fired by Morrisey were: Michael Roberts, an administrative assistant; Argina Layne, field representative; Margaret Chico-Eddy and Justin Jones, both consumer advocates; Megan Berry, a case coordinator; and Ryan Patrick Williams, a mortgage liaison.

The former employees could not be reached for comment Monday night.

The personnel forms list their jobs as "vacant," but it was unclear whether Morrisey plans to fill the positions.

Assistant attorneys general typically represent state agencies, while consumer advocates answer complaints and process credit reports.

Morrisey's office has about 190 employees. In February, he announced plans to conduct a "national search" and bring "the best and brightest lawyers" to West Virginia.

At the time, he said 27 employees had left the office since he defeated McGraw. Notable departures included former Chief Deputy Attorney General Fran Hughes, who's now in private practice, and Deputy Attorney General/Appellate Division Dawn Warfield, who now works for state Auditor Glen Gainer.

Morrisey has not said how many people he hired or how many new positions he created since taking office.

In late March, Morrisey posted a "want ad" on his office website, looking to fill numerous positions, including a chief operating officer, assistant comptroller, network administrator and staff attorneys.

Reach Eric Eyre at ericeyre@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.


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