Members of the Greenbrier County School Board spent about an hour behind closed doors in executive session on Friday discussing a grievance filed by Governor Jim Justice over being denied the nomination as a basketball coach. high school boys’ ball.
But no details of that discussion have been made public, and the school principal has declined to say what the next step in the ongoing saga is.
The grievance, filed earlier in the week, followed a 3-2 board vote in late August to deny a request for Justice to serve as head coach of the boys’ team.
Justice, owner of The Greenbrier complex, which employs hundreds of people and is an economic engine for Lewisburg and the county, already coaches the Greenbrier East women’s basketball team.
Due to the legal nature of the grievance, all of Friday’s discussions took place in an executive session, which lasted about an hour.
Ahead of the executive session, the board heard from Brentz Thompson, the only community member present at Friday’s meeting.
Thompson, of Lewisburg, apologized for the difficult position of the board members.
Thompson, who said he was a retired lawyer who previously served as legal counsel to the Fayette County Board of Education and the West Virginia Board of Education, said he had a unique understanding of what Greenbrier board members were going through.
“There is a lot of pressure on you, and a lot of people I have spoken to feel like you are in a very awkward and embarrassing position.”
Thompson said he chose to speak out because he knew others were reluctant to come forward. He said he held Greenbrier County governor and superintendent of schools, Jeff Bryant, responsible for putting the board in this “awkward and embarrassing” position.
“As a taxpayer it is offensive and ridiculous to have (justice) ask to be the boys’ basketball coach, which is a job that requires constant commitment,” he said. “He also tells us taxpayers that we don’t deserve all of his time and attention as governor. I think it is offensive and insulting.
The grievance, filed by Steve Ruby, a private lawyer for Justice, indicates that Justice is the “most qualified” candidate.
He further states that Justice was interviewed by the principal of Greenbrier East High School, Ben Routson, as well as the deputy principal and athletic director of the school, and they “unanimously concluded that Mr. Justice was the right choice “.
In an email to the Register-Herald, Ruby pointed out Justice’s previous experience, which included training at “Greenbrier East for over 20 years, including six years as head coach of the United Nations team. boys. “
“Her record is 496-173,” Ruby noted.
Ruby said students “deserve a school system that chooses the most qualified candidate for any job, and the board of education has an obligation to act based on qualifications, not arbitrarily.” .
“We regret that we were forced to take on a challenge for the board,” Ruby wrote, “but it is important to ensure that the system works as intended for the benefit of the students, and we are confident in a positive outcome. . “
While no one spoke out in favor of the Justice coach’s request at Friday’s meeting, the governor has raised supporters in previous meetings. These include parents, teachers, his former players and Jeff Bryant, who is also the entertainment director at The Greenbrier complex.
When asked to comment, Bryant said he couldn’t comment on the grievance or what the board’s next step would be.