Phillips said the board appears to lack transparency, a sentiment echoed by Haden and former board member Lowell Johnson.
Within hours of Marple's firing on Thursday, the board called a special meeting during which Linger suggested hiring James Phares, currently the superintendent of Randolph County, as Marple's replacement.
In an interview Monday, Haden said she thought the moves by Linger were "orchestrated" and questionable.
Haden and Johnson, whose nine-year term on the board expired Nov. 4, also referred to a decision at the October regular meeting in regard to transparency. Haden said she called Linger before the October meeting and told him she wanted to discuss something and that it was something she knew he did not agree with.
The meeting was Oct. 3-4 at Buffalo High School in Putnam County. Before the start of the meeting on Oct. 4, Linger told board secretary Virginia Harris not to record the meeting. Haden said she remembers a large debate with Linger and believes it was in regard to the board's response to the education efficiency audit.
Both Haden and Johnson said Linger failed to tell the board the meeting was not being recorded.
Emails and recordings obtained by the Daily Mail through a Freedom of Information Act request verify the second day of the meeting was not recorded.
At 9:08 a.m. Oct. 4, Harris sent Linger an email saying she had ceased recording the meetings as per his direction. At 10:15 a.m., Marple emailed Harris to ask if she was recording the meeting. Harris replied shortly thereafter, saying Linger "directed me prior to the beginning of today's meeting to cease the recording of meetings."
Marple and Harris also exchanged emails about how the process of recording meetings had started. In an email Linger sent Oct. 12 to Harris, he told her to "please start recording meetings of the West Virginia Board of Education again." The rest of the board members and Board Liaison Donna Peduto were also included in the email.
It was the last meeting of Johnson's nine-year term but the first he could remember that wasn't recorded. He said meetings had been recorded for 20 years, and he didn't know why Linger would not want to record this meeting.
"After all of the things that have taken place, it would seem to me that the president of the board is not in favor of transparency," Johnson said. "When you shut off the tapes like that, what you're basically saying is, 'I don't want the public to know.' "
Linger could not be reached by phone but responded to messages with a statement issued by the department.
"I learned that neither state law nor state board policy required that meetings be recorded so I thought we would do it differently during the October meeting. However, I learned that the recording was important to people, especially the board's executive secretary as she utilizes them in preparing meeting minutes," Linger said in the statement.
He said he "immediately asked" recordings to continue, with plans to try to stream the audio from meetings online.
Board member Gayle Manchin said Monday she didn't think there was any nefarious intent by Linger. She said she can't remember what was discussed but thought Linger had made a statement that he was not recording the meeting. If it had just been made via email, she wouldn't have known about it, she said.
"We have public meetings . . . press is there from beginning to end. I find our meetings very transparent, and I don't think that there has ever been an issue with that, and it's interesting that it's coming up now," she said Tuesday in a phone interview.
Manchin said she didn't know why anyone would bring up the October meeting now. Phillips said she didn't know why the board wasn't communicating with her or Haden.
The board is scheduled to meet this afternoon to discuss its response to the education audit. One focus for the board and department is building a communication structure, according to a different statement from Linger.
Staff Writer Ry Rivard contributed to this report.