An Administrative Law Judge has ruled that the Hancock County Board of Education must repost the Director of Personnel position and a new selection process undertaken. The decision was in response to a grievance filed by Oak Glen Middle School Principal Alyssa Mick who has her Ph.D. and was an applicant for the Director of Personnel position. Sarah Parsons, a close friend of Superintendent Dawn Petrovich, was selected for the position and Administrative Law Judge Joshua Fraenkal ruled that “favoritism contributed to the selection of Ms. Parsons.” Other candidates for the position included Oak Glen Principal David Smith and Kelly Lawton. The interview for the position was conducted by Petrovich and Director of Finance Joe Campinelli.
The grievance, which was in part granted and in part denied, did not grant Mick instatement to the Director of Personnel position nor the back pay with interest, retirement, leave and attorney fees as she requested in her assertion she was the most qualified for the position. Both qualifications and experience were to be considered in the selection and Smith has 27 years experience.
The matrix used in the evaluation of candidates for the position was not provided to Board member Michelle Chappell when she requested the information prior to a vote being taken on hiring Parsons. Chappell voted against Parsons being hired and the ruing stated “the Superintendent hindered the board in its performance of its selection duties and exercised undue influence over it.”
One issue with Parson’s qualifications is the master’s degrees listed on her application which according to the ruling “appears to indicate she has three MA’s described as 2010-2011, M.A. in Superintendent supervisor for pre-k adult, Wheeling Jesuit University; 2006-2008, MA Special Education classes Fairmont State; and 2005-2007, MA Educational Leadership University of Cincinnati.” It was determined, however, that Parsons, holds only one master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati. In her testimony, however, Petrovich said she felt Parsons was “trustworthy.”
The Board also has the option of appealing the Administrative Law Judge’s ruling within 30 days. Should the ruling be appealed the case would then be heard in Kanawha County Circuit Court. The Administrative Law Judge’s ruling will be on the Board’s agenda at the Monday, March 14 meeting and a vote is expected to be taken at that time on whether to appeal or abide by the Administrative Law Judge’s decision.
Mick is represented by Weirton Attorney Alex Risovich while the Board is represented by Jason Long of Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP.