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Education and Arts Secretary Gayle Manchin terminated after issuing statement on HB 4006

Governor Jim Justice terminates West Virginia Education and the Arts Cabinet Secretary Gayle Manchin hours after she issues statement on House Bill 4006. (West Virginia Education and the Arts Website)

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice terminated the employment of Gayle Manchin, the cabinet secretary of Education and the Arts, hours after she issued a statement on House Bill 4006.

The bill would eliminate the Department of the Education and the Arts.

Justice said he has not made a decision on whether to sign or veto the bill, and Monday Manchin asked Chief of Staff Mike Hall how she should approach the situation. She was told not to do anything because a decision has not been made.

Manchin sent a news release with her own statement, saying the Republican Legislature passed a dangerous bill to score partisan points and she offered to resign to remove any political cloud.

"In an obvious rush to score partisan points, the Republican state Legislature passed dangerous and destructive legislation to eliminate the Office of Education and the Arts on a mostly party-line vote. This is a cabinet post that reports directly to the governor and serves thousands across our state; it helps the disabled, provides summer programs for our children through federal funding, and many others that touch families all over West Virginia," Manchin said in a news release.

Justice said in a news release this put him in a bad position.

"If there weren't any earlier political cloud, now there surely is one. She was very critical, made it political, and put me in a very, very bad position," Justice said.

Justice said his office told Manchin they accepted her resignation and she refused. Justice said she was then terminated.

Justice said he is continuing to examine the legislation and look for ways to cut costs, while preserving and promoting the arts. He said he appreciates the years of service Manchin has given to West Virginia.




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