UPDATE: Harrison County Commission fires county administrator

Harrison

UPDATE(April 15, 2021 4:29 p.m.):

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – After some back and forth, the Harrison County Commission has scheduled a special commission meeting for Monday, April 19 at 10:00 a.m. to “Review & Discuss Appointment of an Interim Administrator and the transition.”

The first agenda for the meeting sent out, worded it slightly differently: “Review – Discuss – Consider Appointment of an Interim Administrator and the transition.”

The wording was adjusted after Commissioner David Hinkle sent the following email in response to the initial agenda: “This agenda is wrong. Commissioner Thomas changed wording and meaning of meeting that was requested. I did not agree to meet with this wording.”


ORIGINAL STORY(April 14, 2021 4:07 p.m.):

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – With little lead up, Harrison County Commissioners voted 2-1 to fire long-time County Administrator Willie Parker, during Wednesday’s commission meeting.

Discussion to evaluate and retain Parker, through a possible executive session, was listed on Wednesday’s agenda.

Commissioner David Hinkle initially moved that the item be tabled and that they move on to the next item. Commissioners Susan Thomas and Patsy Trecost voted to discuss it, with Trecost suggesting they go into executive session. Hinkle declined and called for the discussion to be held publicly:

“I find it very unprofessional to take an employee and discuss(inaudible) in the public. I find it offensive that you did not ask the two of us to discuss it in private before you took Mr. Parker and put him on a platform like you did. That’s very unprofessional. Never in my whole life of being in business have I seen anybody treat employees the way you treat them. You do not take into consideration a lot of personal life or them personally. You think it’s fun to put it in the newspaper and threaten their jobs on a weekly basis and you have this courthouse in utter chaos. And this is a prime example. This should have been discussed between three of us, whether this should have ever even been brought up and you have not talked to me about it. If you talked with Ms. Thomas about it then (inaudible) it’s only been the two of you. I’m not accusing you of talking to Susan, but it’s pretty amazing that the three of us have not sat down at any point, except for in a public meeting and discuss personnel issues which we can do by law in an executive session and for some reason Mr. Trecost likes to talk about it in public. So, I’m recommending to Mr. Parker to sit right here.”

Trecost then read: “While I appreciate Mr. Parker and his eight years of service to the county, at this time I’d like to move in a different direction. Therefore, I move to terminate the employment, effective today, and pay him the remainder of his salary through June 30, 2021.”

Trecost and Thomas then voted to terminate Parker, with Hinkle voting against the move.

Assistant County Administrator Jessica Sell resigned from her position last month.

Tensions have been high on commission since Thomas was named president at the beginning of the year.

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