Morrisey also directed the advocates to provide a list of past events they attended, dates and contact information for the groups that sponsored the events.
The consumer advocates didn't get another assignment from Morrisey until May 9.
Morrisey's office directed the advocates to call their "contacts" -- at schools, senior centers and other sites -- and ask "what services they need or would like to see from our office . . . ," according to an email sent to the employees.
Morrisey also told the consumer advocates to ask about upcoming events, and if the Attorney General's Office "was helpful to them in the past and if they would like to continue on . . . ."
That same day, Morrisey's office sent a separate email to four of the consumer advocates: "Starting tomorrow, all advocates in the office will be starting mail and phone coverage . . . ."
The next day, Morrisey had a new -- and completely different -- assignment for the consumer advocates. He directed them to answer questions about how they would educate local business owners about the state's consumer protection laws.
"How would you sit down with a local business owner to explain how to comply with our consumer protection laws?" a Morrisey subordinate wrote in a May 10 email to the advocates, even though none of the employees has a law degree or background in West Virginia law.
Morrisey also gave the advocates seven days to develop a "template" about "how you would go about doing this sort of business visit/contact." He said the new assignment should take priority over the previous directive about providing a list of past events they attended.
By the end of the month, Morrisey fired five of the consumer advocates, according to state personnel records. Morrisey listed "office restructuring" as the reason for the dismissals.
The firings included Juliet Stevenson, the sister of Mike Ross, a philanthropist and former state senator who made his fortune in the oil and gas industry. John Gainer kept his job.
It was unclear if -- or how -- the consumer advocates answered Morrisey's questions.
Morrisey would not say how many advocates now work in his office. He has hired two advocates -- both Republican activists who previously worked on his campaign -- and already fired one of them.
In his statement last week, the attorney general said he would maintain a "strong consumer protection division and will run the office" in a manner that "makes West Virginia proud." He said he plans to announce "additional initiatives to enhance and restructure" his office.
"Rome wasn't built in a day," Morrisey said. "It will take more than a few months to fully transform the office of attorney general and improve our state's business climate while simultaneously maintaining strong consumer protection practices."
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.