Explain Vote to Fire W.Va. Ethics Official

Modern practice in firing public employees and officials is to simply let them go with no explanation. Sometimes that raises eyebrows among those who wonder whether incompetence or wrongdoing was to blame.

West Virginia Ethics Commission members voted Thursday – by a 5-4 tally – to fire their executive director, Joan Parker. The matter was discussed in a session closed to the public and press. No explanation was provided.

Parker had been director since February 2013. Previously she served for four years as the commission’s general counsel. She is no stranger to the panel’s procedures.

Simply because of the commission’s business – providing rulings on ethics issues involving government officials and occasionally enforcing them – questions arise about why Parker was fired. The 5-4 vote also is cause for speculation.

Clearly, then, commission members owe the public some explanation concerning the firing.