Justice fires Gayle Manchin as Secretary of Education and the Arts


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia Republican Gov. Jim Justice says he has fired Secretary of Education and the Arts Gayle Manchin ahead of his decision on approved legislation to reorganize the agency.

Justice announced the move in a news release today. Manchin is a former state school board president and is the wife of Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin.

Lawmakers on Saturday passed a bill to dismantle the Department of Education and the Arts. The statement says the governor has not decided whether to veto or sign the bill.

Gayle Manchin had sought the department’s preservation.

The department’s agencies include Culture and History, Public Broadcasting, the Center for Professional Development, the Library Commission, Rehabilitation Services and Volunteer West Virginia. Those would either be absorbed by other departments or continue as separate agencies within the executive branch.

Manchin today offered to resign in an effort to save the department.

“In an obvious rush to score 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,” she said in a release.

“I call on the governor to veto this reckless and politically motivated legislation … or work with me to dissolve this agency, if that’s what he wants to do, in a responsible and compassionate way. It’s obvious that there aren’t any significant financial savings here; we need to get the politics out of this.”