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WV Ethics Commission Fires Executive Director

Reported: Jun. 5, 2014 6:18 PM EDT
Updated: Jun. 5, 2014 6:28 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Chris Williams) -- After a little more than a year on the job, the executive director of the state's ethics committee was off the job Thursday night. She was unexpectedly fired at a committee meeting in the morning.

After more than an hour in executive session, the West Virginia Ethics Commission decided to fire Executive Director Joan Parker. Parker was appointed to her position in February of 2013, and prior to that, Parker served as the board's general counsel.

"Ms. Parker is an employee at will. The commission is being reconstituted, and simply we felt it was in the best interest that she be relieved,” Father Douglas Sutton, an ethics commissioner, said.

An "employee at will" means there does not need to be a reason to fire someone. When the commission came back from their executive session, commissioners voted 5-4 to fire Parker. However, they did not want to give a reason as to why they made the decision.

"Because she is an employee at will, the commission is not stating a reason," Sutton said.

Sutton would only say it was the right decision at the right time. When asked why he voted in favor of Parker's termination, he was cut off by fellow member, former West Virginia Secretary of State Betty Ireland.

"There have been a number of things that have gone on this year that have ya know,” Sutton said.

When pressed, Sutton decided to walk away, rather than answer questions.

"I just wanted to ask one question,” a reporter at the meeting said. “

This concludes this interview," Sutton said.




CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- The West Virginia Ethics Commission voted to fire its executive director and gave no reason for her termination.

The commission's 5-4 vote Thursday ends Joan Parker's tenure as director. The commission discussed her firing behind closed doors for about an hour.

Parker started as director in February 2013. She had served as the commission's general counsel for four years.

Ethics Commissioner the Rev. Douglas Sutton said the panel believed Parker's termination was in the best interest of the commission. He said the commission is not stating a reason for the dismissal because Parker is an employee at will.

Before the vote, Parker said she had done everything possible to comply with ethics laws, even when it was unpopular.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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