Gov. Justice fires Gayle Manchin

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WDTV) -- Governor Jim Justice terminated Gayle Manchin, Secretary of Education and the Arts, on Monday.

According to a press release from Governor Justice, he has not made a decision yet on legislation for House Bill 4006. That is the legislation dealing with the Office of the Education and the Arts.

Justice claims earlier Monday, Manchin asked the Chief of Staff how she should approach this. Justice said, "She was told by the Chief of Staff to do nothing based upon my public comments this morning, and that my decision to veto or sign this bill has not been made. Later in the day, she decided to defy the Chief of Staff's instructions and issued a press release. In her press release she offered to resign and remove any political cloud. If there weren't any earlier political cloud, now there surely is one. She was very critical, made it political, and put me in a very, very bad position."

The press release Justice is referring to is one from Manchin, where she asked the Governor to veto the legislation. In the release, she said she believes the decision to get rid of the office was politically motivated. She went on to say the legislation would "...hurt our children, seniors, veterans, the disabled, and disaster response training. In addition, it eliminates a statewide advocacy for the arts."

Manchin said she wanted to "... sit down with the Governor, and if it helps, I’ll resign to remove any political pressure to save all of these important programs for West Virginians.”

In his press release later Monday evening, Justice wrote about Manchin saying, "She was told that we accepted her resignation, she refused, and we terminated her."

He went on to thank her for her years of service to the state.