Several opinions have been expressed over the State Board of Education's sudden firing of Superintendent Jorea Marple on Thursday.
The board may have had valid reasons for removing Marple, but the way it happened was wrong. And it was classless.
It also may have been illegal since the discussion of her job status was not on the board's meeting agenda, as is required by state law.
The board went into a closed session without Marple for more than an hour to discuss what it said were personnel matters. When it returned, board President Wade Linger said no action would be taken.
However, Linger later called for a break and when he returned a sheet of paper was passed out to the other members with Marple's termination listed as a new item for discussion. Again the board went into executive session where the 5-2 vote to fire her was taken.
We are not trying to drum up sympathy for Marple. She certainly is not a political neophyte. She is the wife of recently defeated state Attorney General Darrell McGraw, who for years has been possibly the most controversial politician in the state. Marple, a powerful women in her own right, wielded an immense amount of power from her position. And, as she admitted, she serves as a will-and-pleasure employee of the board, which means she can be fired at any time for any reason.
However, she still deserved the courtesy to be confronted about her employment situation, not ambushed in the manner in which this situation played out on Thursday.
Whether they are right or not, who can blame her supporters for suggesting the move - which came just a little more than a week after her husband was defeated on Nov. 6 - was politically motivated? Since the five votes to remove her were all appointments made by Sen. Joe Manchin when he was governor, and since Manchin's wife Gayle was one of those appointees who voted with the majority, it is understandable, as some claim, this move had the Manchin family's fingerprints all over it.
Being the state school superintendent did not give Jorea Marple an exemption from being fired. However, it should have given her the right to expect not to be dismissed in such an embarrassing and disrespectful manner.