WV DHHR lawyer involved in contract flap fired - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

WV DHHR lawyer involved in contract flap fired

Posted: Updated:
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • UPDATE: All Northbound lanes open on I-77 at East River Mountain Tunnel

    UPDATE: All Northbound lanes open on I-77 at East River Mountain Tunnel

    Saturday, July 26 2014 6:42 PM EDT2014-07-26 22:42:00 GMT
    All northbound lanes are back open after a tractor trailer that caught fire inside the East River Mountain Tunnel on Friday. It happened in the northbound lanes of the tunnel that divides Mercer and Bland around 2:00 Friday afternoon.
    All northbound lanes are back open after a tractor trailer that caught fire inside the East River Mountain Tunnel on Friday. It happened in the northbound lanes of the tunnel that divides Mercer and Bland around 2:00 Friday afternoon.
  • Sistersville Woman Crowned Mrs. West Virginia, Will Compete for National Title

    Sistersville Woman Crowned Mrs. West Virginia, Will Compete for National Title

    Tuesday, July 15 2014 4:17 AM EDT2014-07-15 08:17:38 GMT
    A Sistersville mother, wife, and soon-to-be teacher, holds another very impressive title as she gets ready to take on the competition on a national stage.Mrs. West Virginia, Melissa Smith, will compete for the title of "Mrs.United States," in September. Smith travels throughout the state right now helping to push her platform. "Right now, I'm very focused on improving literacy education. I'm going to be an elementary school teacher and I have been traveling throughout West Virginia reading to...
    A Sistersville mother, wife, and soon-to-be teacher, holds another very impressive title as she gets ready to take on the competition on a national stage.Mrs. West Virginia, Melissa Smith, will compete for the title of "Mrs.United States," in September. Smith travels throughout the state right now helping to push her platform. "Right now, I'm very focused on improving literacy education. I'm going to be an elementary school teacher and I have been traveling throughout West Virginia reading to...
  • Federal judge in Martinsburg, West Virginia, sends 10 to prison for violating probation

    Federal judge in Martinsburg, West Virginia, sends 10 to prison for violating probation

    Sunday, July 6 2014 11:00 AM EDT2014-07-06 15:00:12 GMT
    Nine Martinsburg, West Virginia, residents and another from Keyser were sentenced to federal prison for breaking the law while they were on supervised release or probation.
    Nine Martinsburg, West Virginia, residents and another from Keyser were sentenced to federal prison for breaking the law while they were on supervised release or probation.
  • GovernmentGovernmentMore>>

  • West Virginia union PAC gets $250k check

    West Virginia union PAC gets $250k check

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 9:43 AM EDT2014-07-29 13:43:38 GMT
    The super PAC named Honest West Virginians received the check from the West Virginia State Building & Construction Trades Council in late June.
    The super PAC named Honest West Virginians received the check from the West Virginia State Building & Construction Trades Council in late June.
  • DC mayor to sign bill banning Styrofoam

    DC mayor to sign bill banning Styrofoam

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 9:38 AM EDT2014-07-29 13:38:16 GMT
    The District would join cities including Seattle and San Francisco that have banned plastic foam for environmental reasons. The ban will take effect starting in 2016.
    The District would join cities including Seattle and San Francisco that have banned plastic foam for environmental reasons. The ban will take effect starting in 2016.
  • NYC uses food trucks to bring summer meals to kids

    NYC uses food trucks to bring summer meals to kids

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 9:25 AM EDT2014-07-29 13:25:17 GMT
    Other places around the country have started using mobile delivery systems for their summer meals programs. In Baltimore, a summer meals program drops meals off at 11 sites, while in Waco, Texas, school buses go to certain designated sites and kids get on the bus to get their meals.
    Other places around the country have started using mobile delivery systems for their summer meals programs. In Baltimore, a summer meals program drops meals off at 11 sites, while in Waco, Texas, school buses go to certain designated sites and kids get on the bus to get their meals.

CHARLESTON (AP) — A West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources official involved in a dispute within the agency over an advertising contract's bidding has been fired.

Former general counsel Jennifer Taylor told the Charleston Daily Mail that she was notified of her termination Feb. 4.

The DHHR issued a brief statement confirming Taylor's termination.

Taylor, former DHHR Assistant Secretary John Law and Deputy Secretary Susan Perry were reassigned in July 2012 after they objected to the handling of a six-figure advertising contract. Law was fired in January.

Last week, Kanawha County prosecutor Mark Plants said an investigation arising from the dispute found signs of policy violations and bad judgment but no criminal intent. He said no criminal charges would be filed and that he would refer the case "to the responsible state authorities to take such administrative action as they deem appropriate."

Law, Perry and Taylor had raised concerns about how others at the department scored the technical merits of bids for the six-figure contract from four vendors. That scoring allowed Ohio-based Fahlgren Mortine to win the ad contract with a $473,000 bid, the highest among the four filed. While signed for one year, the contract can be extended and its value can increase if other agencies piggy-back on the services it provides.

The department's inspector general, which investigated the contract dispute, obtained a search warrant in September 2012 for the state-issued cellphones, email accounts and office records of Law, Perry and Taylor.

The search warrant request alleged that Law, Perry and Taylor conspired to steer the contract toward the lowest bidder, The Arnold Agency, which had won the previous version of the contract. Among other actions, the three repeatedly tried to second-guess or overrule other department staffers while arranging to extend the previous contact for two months amid the scoring dispute, the search warrant request alleged.

Perry and Taylor responded with separate whistleblower lawsuits in Kanawha County Circuit Court in October 2012. Besides blasting the search warrant allegations as designed to harm their reputations, the lawsuits also criticized the technical scoring. The DHHR asked the court in November to dismiss the lawsuits, arguing that Perry and Taylor hadn't been fired or suspended without pay.

"The defendants had argued in the motion to dismiss that one of the reasons that Jennifer's case should be dismissed was that there was no damages because she lost no pay," said Walt Auvil, Perry and Taylor's lawyer. "That defense seems significantly compromised by firing Jennifer."

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.