West Virginia Secretary of State Defends Firing 16 Employees

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner has defended his decision to fire 16 longtime employees upon taking office last month.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail says Warner told the Senate Finance Committee on Monday that cutting about one-third of his office’s staff was necessary to “move the office forward.”

The firings have resulted in wrongful-termination lawsuits being filed against Warner.

Warner has since replaced the 16 employees with 22 new hires, including new positions of regional field service representatives for seven regions around the state. Warner told senators Monday that those additional hires did not increase the overall personnel budget for the office.

Citing the pending litigation, Warner declined to discuss specifics of the firings, but he said, “Some of these people were leaving anyway.”