College administrators, we’ve been told, are educators not politicians. Never mind that some would-be politicos become university presidents. That is merely coincidental.
So we’ll accept the conclusion that Marshall University President Jerome Gilbert was just being truthful when he testified to the Senate Finance Committee this week.
We’ll decide, perhaps, that MU officials were glancing at political tea leaves when they tried to walk back Gilbert’s comments the next day.
Regardless, the Marshall President will receive this week’s Gregory Award for Honesty in the Public Sector. There’s not really even any competition.
Gilbert, it seems, alerted the legislators to a shortfall in Promise Scholarship money last year.
It was surprising for many to learn that Marshall and West Virginia University failed to be reimbursed for millions by the state. But the real shock came when Gilbert calmly explained why nobody in the Senate seemed to know anything about it.
“We were asked not to really discuss that until after the election, which we did. We decided we would stay quiet about it,” Gilbert told State Senator Robert Plymale, a Wayne Democrat.
“So we have sat and waited and now we have come forward to let you know this happened. And we are requesting that we get those state funds that we promised the students that we had to take out of our reserves to actually fund their scholarships.”
Governor Jim Justice, then-Treasurer John Perdue and others touted the Promise Scholarship as a shining example of positive, innovative policy during the 2020 election cycle.
Meanwhile, the state was in such shabby financial condition that it could not reimburse the two major universities?
And Gilbert, at least, admitted he was told not to discuss it “until after the election”?
Amazing candor. Too amazing to suit the governor’s office, obviously.
“We were delivered a big blow last spring, the spring of 2020, when we failed to receive $1.13 million in Promise funds for our Marshall students,” Gilbert told senators.
There’s nothing confusing about Gilbert’s original testimony. MU had to come up with millions to cover the state’s shortfall. So did WVU. He was asked not.to.reveal that until “after the election.” Hmmmn.
Had Marshall not come up with money from its own funds, 236 Promise scholars would have been left out in the financial cold, the President said. I wonder if Justice’s Democrat opponent, Kanawha County Commissioner Ben Salango, could have used that information during the campaign?
But, oh yeah, Gilbert was told not to.talk about it until AFTER the election. That’s when legislators — and the public — deserved to.know, I guess.
Gilbert added, “We now respectfully request that the legislature restore the Promise Scholarship funds that we were denied.”
Officials from WVU verified that they suffered a shortfall in Promise funds as well. It doesn’t appear that Gilbert was hallucinating.
The day after his comments appeared in print, Marshall issued a politically correct statement. The President, the PR people spun it, was merely describing a “timeline” when he told senators that higher education leaders were asked to keep quiet about the shortfall until after last fall’s election.
Interesting. A timeline? I suppose Gilbert MIGHT have said he was asked to keep quiet until after Halloween. Referring to the election was just an inadvertent time marker he blurted out on his own.
As President Biden would say, “come on, man!”
Thank heaven for a university president who is either brave or naive enough to tell the truth when before a Senate committee. Gilbert deserves commendation. He won’t get it from the governor’s office, but he gets it here.
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All of the uproar about Texas Senator Ted Cruz going to Cancun when his state was facing a weather emergency reminds me of Congressman Alex Mooney heading overseas when the Flood of the Century hit his Second Congressional District.
Mooney eventually returned and brought about half his congressional office staff to photograph him handing out water and other supplies to displaced Clendenin and Elkview residents. Clearly, the staffers had nothing better to do — like help constituents in need cut through government red tape for assistance.
The GOP congressman subsequently won virtually all of the flood-ravaged precincts although he was originally AWOL while his constituents suffered. Lesson to be learned: Cruz may win by an even bigger margin next time.
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Cruz’s trip to Cancun inspired a profanity-filled rant from our favorite former State Senator, Logan’s own Richard Ojeda.
The spokesperson for No Democrat Left Behind promised to be a “thorn in the side” of Cruz from now on.
As of the last election, the Texas senator did at least carry his home precinct, unlike Ojeda.
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Attorney Daniel Horowitz surveyed West Virginia, governed by our Republican governor and a supermajority GOP legislature and came to an interesting conclusion.
“The perfidious Republican Party has managed to turn one of the most rural parts of the country into the tyranny of San Francisco — with masks, child abuse in school, and closure of struggling businesses,” he recently opined.
Not much different than the opinions of those of us who have been crying out as voices in the wilderness ever since Justice started ruling by executive order.
After returning to the capitol for their regular 2021 session, it’s still unclear this weekend if the legislature will actually do anything to provide checks and balances for this lame duck governor.
Meanwhile, ever-benevolent King James I has “loosened” Covid restrictions. Time to grovel at his feet.
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“If we’ve learned anything in this pandemic, it should be that the CDC is the gold standard for public health decisions,” Charleston Mayor Amy Goodwin said. “We go to them to stop infectious diseases, to set standards to protect everyone. We know when they tell us this is a real concern, we need to listen.”
Really? Goodwin was speaking of Charleston’s needle exchange program at the time.
Along with some legislators, I wonder if the CDC has actually defined what masks or face coverings we should all be wearing. If so, many of us have missed it.
Face covering specifics are definitely missing in the “guidelines” prepared for this State Senate session. As Randolph County Republican Senator Robert Karnes illustrated, a face covering means different things to different people.
Monongalia Democrat Senator Bob Beach was simply wrong for holding Karnes up for public ridicule on social media. A photo Beach took made it appear Karnes’ face was uncovered when it was not.
Karnes called Beach the “most partisan member of his caucus” in explaining the Morgantown senator’s motives. I couldn’t disagree.
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The Claudia L. Workman Nature Education Center at Alum Creek, Kanawha County, will eventually become a major tourist attraction, according to supporters.
When complete, the center will become the main attraction of the 105-acre Forks of Coal State Nature Area. Businessman Jack Workman donated the property to the Division of Natural Resources in November 2015, on the condition that a nature center be built there in honor of his late wife, an amateur naturalist.
Although organizers credit many with the project taking shape just off Corridor G, most acknowledge the major push provided by former Democrat Governor Earl Ray Tomblin.
“It’s definitely part of Earl Ray’s legacy,” said one volunteer who has worked on the project. “He passes it every time he comes and goes home from Charleston.” Tomblin lives at Chapmanville.
The $6.36 million facility is being built with money from various sources, including interest from the DNR’s Kanawha River Endowment Fund, revenue from oil and gas royalty payments, and donations through the Forks of Coal State Natural Area Foundation.
We’ll discuss more about the coming attraction in the next few weeks.
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Unable to decide whether they should restrict Justice’s omnipotence in the current pandemic, Republican legislators rushed forward with what may be the hallmarks of their super-majorities this week. Yes, eliminating the personal income tax, establishing charter schools and increasing fees for anything that moves are alive and well.
Have no doubt, dear reader, that if GOP legislators were not determined to punish public school teachers and trial lawyers, all of this would not be priority one.
The professional fee implementations are designed to make it much less attractive to engage an attorney to handle a lawsuit. Pure and simple.
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Senior U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, the state’s token Democrat, made national news this week when he admitted to the Washington Examiner that he hasn’t given President Joe Biden any West Virginia moonshine.
Manchin, who said he thinks the new president is a “wonderful person,” told the paper he just hasn’t gotten around to gifting Biden some of our homemade likker. Or is that “liquor”?