Obey the law, get fired

It’s nice to see the Fred Armstrong-Randall Reid-Smith squabble back in the news, as Armstrong’s amended grievance becomes public. Armstrong cites three events he thinks led to his dismissal:

His objection to merging the two libraries; not assisting with putting in historical markers in Wayne County, which the Archives and History Commission had twice voted down;  and his objection in 2006 to sending the WV History publication to WVU. Armstrong points out that state law both requires the state to maintain an archive and requires Archives and History to publish an annual history. Does this mean Kay Goodwin broke the law when she sent the publication to Morgantown?

The business about the historical markers is most interesting, though. RRS has become known for his efforts to make Culture and History the pet of state legislators, especially powerful ones. In addition to their obligations toward legislators, such as researching and responding to constituent issues, he has the staff decorating legislative (and minions’) offices with state-owned art, spending agency money on personal decor for said offices, moving furniture around, and doing a lot of work that should be considered “personal.” Reid-Smith’s attitude is that everything gets done and no one gets slighted, in spite of the work load.

One can easily believe that Reid-Smith assured the speaker’s office that things “would get done” in spite of the legality. It would fit in with Kay Goodwin’s reprimand for trying to comply with state law.

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