No. 28490 -- George Trimble v. West Virginia Board of Directors, Southern
West Virginia Community and Technical College
Maynard, Justice, dissenting:
I dissent from the majority opinion because I do not believe that the College
acted arbitrarily and capriciously in terminating the appellant.
This Court, as an appellate court, has a quite limited and modest role which
is simply to ensure that the law is properly interpreted and applied below. With its
decision in this case, however, the majority expresses its intent to act as a kind of super
board of directors whose role is to micro-manage higher education employment and
disciplinary decisions. Worse still, the majority formalizes its role of micro-manager by
fashioning from whole cloth an overly broad constitutional rule in Syllabus Point 6 which
has no foundation in constitutional jurisprudence but rather stems from the majority's
own subjective notions of justice.
In addition, the majority
sends an unmistakable message to State college and university administrations
that even the most recalcitrant, inflexible, and uncooperative tenured teachers
cannot be fired absent a protracted, and most likely futile, effort to bring
them into line. The undisputed facts indicate that the appellant missed at least
four instructional meetings, adamantly refused to complete a syllabus in the
required format, and, when advised of the College's intention to terminate his
employment for insubordination, declined an opportunity to meet with administrators
to rebut the charges and discuss the matter. It was only after his termination
that he filed the grievance that has ended up in this Court. Despite these facts,
the majority finds that the appellant's termination was improper.
The majority opinion unreasonably burdens college administrators with the
extra expense, in both time and money, of additional hearings and delays prior to the
termination of ineffective or insubordinate employees. It thus robs administrators of the
ability to take quick and decisive action. One casualty of this unnecessary extra expense
may be the ability to dispense a quality education at a reasonable cost.
Finally, the real outrage in this case is the sad fact that this Court has
rewarded the appellant's egregious misconduct with many thousands of tax dollars in
back pay and interest.
Accordingly, for the reasons stated above, I dissent.