No. 32163 - Amanda A. Frymier v. Higher Education Policy Commission and Glenville
Maynard, Justice, concurring:
I am writing separately in this case because it has been suggested that W.Va.
Code § 18B-7-1 (2004) should be interpreted to mean that any change in the terms and
conditions of employment of an employee covered by the statute constitutes a reduction in
force. In effect, my dissenting colleagues would subject every administrative decision which
changes the status of an employee of a state institution of higher education to the bumping
requirements of the statute. Such an interpretation of the statute would distort the clear intent
of the Legislature and would disrupt the management of those institutions by requiring the
reshuffling of employees every time an administrator tries to cut costs. Furthermore, the
constant need to re-train employees with greater seniority who have bumped their way into
other positions could actually lead to higher costs and less efficiency.
The majority's decision in this case is in accordance with this Court's long-
standing rules of statutory interpretation. Specifically,
[C]ourts must presume that a legislature says in a statute what it
means and means in a statute what it says there . . . [i]t is not
the province of the courts to make or supervise legislation, and
a statute may not, under the guise of interpretation, be modified,
revised, amended, distorted, remodeled or rewritten . . . [and]
[i]f the language of an enactment is clear and within the
constitutional authority of the lawmaking body which passed it,
courts must read the relevant law according to its unvarnished
meaning, without any judicial embroidery.
State v. Richards
, 206 W.Va. 573, 577, 526 S.E.2d 539, 543 (1999) (internal citations and
quotations omitted). Clearly, W.Va. Code § 18B-7-1 only applies to reductions in work
force of full-time classified personnel, whether by
temporary furlough or permanent
termination. (Emphasis added). Since Ms. Frymier was not permanently terminated or
subject to a temporary layoff, the statute at issue has no application. Accordingly, I concur
with the majority's decision in this case.