Bad Management

In late Septemter, the West Virginia Legislative Auditor reported a multi-year, $38 million communications tower project was mismanaged badly. State purchasing laws were broken, the auditor said.

At the heart of the problem were two state officials, homeland security Director Jimmy Gianato and emergency communications Director Joe Gonzalez.

Exactly what happened and why ought to be the subject of a thorough investigation, as has been suggested on several occasions.

But since then, new information has surfaced, leading to another question: Given their histories of ignoring the law and orders from the governor’s office, why on earth are these men still employed by the state?

At one point, Rob Alsop, then chief of staff for Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, sent an email message to Gianato and Gonzalez about state law requiring bids be solicited for part of the tower project. “You have been told for months that this needed to be re-bid … there is still nothing in process,” Alsop chided the two.

Finally, bids were sought and the project was completed legally. But, according to the auditor, some of the $38 million was handled illegally.

In the private sector, most people ignoring orders from the boss would be fired.

Why hasn’t that happened in this case?