Associated Press Published

New Secretary of State Plans Office Job Cuts


West Virginia Secretary of State-elect Mac Warner says about one-third of the current office’s staff will be let go after he takes office this month.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports Warner notified outgoing Secretary of State Natalie Tennant in a letter Tuesday that 16 current staff members are on the termination list.

“This is unprecedented that a new administration would come in and fire 16 people without giving the employees an opportunity to defend their jobs or ask to be moved in a different position or take a pay cut,” Tennant said Tuesday. “By losing a third of the employees in the office, you are losing decades of competent, professional individuals with experience, knowledge and excellent customer service.”

Warner’s upcoming communications director Mike Queen says Warner plans to reduce the number of full-time employees in the secretary of state’s office from 60 to 56, which includes leaving two vacancies unfilled. He said that adds up to 14 new hires.

Queen says the reduction is in response to anticipated budget cuts.

“He’s assuming each constitutional office is going to be asked to reduce its budget,” Queen said of Warner. “We’re hoping we can demonstrate to the Legislature we’re operating more efficiently.”

The letter says staff members who are retained will continue to serve as at-will employees.

Warner, a Republican, defeated Tennant in the November election. He takes office on Jan. 16.