The increase in filings, coupled with a spike in turnover of Ethics Commission attorneys (with both Marty Wright and Maryclaire Akers departing to join the attorney general's office), has created a backlog of complaints with cases dating back to 2009.
With that in mind, the Ethics Commission Thursday approved hiring Anna Bailey and Robert Baker as contract attorneys, at $100 per hour, to help Parker and the commission's three full-time attorneys address the backlogged cases.
Speaking of ethics, isn't it ironic that Dana Holgorsen and Doc Holliday can appear in TV commercials, but Glen Gainer was sanctioned for appearing in a promotional video, and cops in one city were told they can't reward citizens with restaurant coupons?
Also, a reader notes that a current TV spot features members of the Williamson Fire Department touting mattresses from Big Sandy Furniture, probably in violation of the Ethics Act.
Finally, Peg Griffith stopped by to share an interesting story about how she got fired -- from a volunteer state job.
Griffith, a retired secretary who worked for the state and later for Kanawha County, said she likes to keep busy volunteering for various organizations, including the state Division of Culture and History -- where she worked until this past May 25.
Griffith said she was working in the Culture Center Green Room for the Vandalia Gathering, and recalled the conversion turned to concerns from musicians and vendors that this year's scaled-back event could be the precursor for permanently marginalizing or eliminating Vandalia.
Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith overheard the discussion and was empathic that the concerns were unfounded.
In the heat of the discussion, Griffith said she blurted out, "You're not even a native West Virginian." (Which was incorrect. Reid-Smith grew up in Barboursville.)
She said Reid-Smith glared at her, and immediately exited the room. A few minutes later, Griffith said Culture and History program manager Pat Cowdery came in, telling her, "I've got to let you go."
Griffith has been trying to get reinstated, having worked the Vandalia Gathering for the past two years, but said her letter to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin was referred on to Education and Arts Secretary Kay Goodwin, with no follow-up to date.
(Speaking of Culture and History, longtime General Services Division business manager Sue Chapman will become the division's director of administration, effective Oct. 16.)
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.