Ritchie eliminating full-time athletic director position

ELLENBORO -Following the resignation of its high school and middle school athletics director members of the Ritchie County Board of Education will consider abolishing the position.

Former Ritchie County High School/Middle School athletics director Patrick Allen resigned from the post last month. At next week’s meeting members of the school board will vote to abolish the position.

Schools superintendent Ed Toman has hired two part-time coordinators to handle the duties and save the school system about $42,000 a year.

“With our declining enrollment and finances this is a way to eliminate a position and keep the county budget in good shape,” he said.

Toman said Chris Well and Wendy Johnson have been hired as athletic coordinators under extra duty contracts. Wells at the high school for $5,000, and Johnson to handle middle school duties for a $3,000 contract.

Toman said he also wanted to put the athletic directors back under the control of the principals. For the last several years the position reported to the superintendent.

Allen was hired as athletics director by the Ritchie County Board of Education in June 2009. His hiring was not without controversy. He was hired as a full-time athletics director at a $50,000 salary. Parkersburg and Parkersburg South high schools – both Class AAA schools – employ assistant principals to serve as athletic directors. The position typically requires a master’s degree and several years of teaching experience.

In a complaint filed with the West Virginia Ethics Commission, former Ritchie County Schools Superintendent Bob Daquilante was accused of modifying the qualifications of the job to suit Allen, and that a teaching certificate was not required.

The complaint was filed in September 2009 by Kathy McKinney, a county resident.

Last year Daquilante reached a conciliation agreement with the commission over allegations he used his position to tailor the job to hire Allen. Daquilante admitted he was “not completely forthcoming” with the ethics commission, agreed to a public reprimand and a $7,500 fine.

Toman, who has served as superintendent of the county school system for about three years said Allen did a superb job.