Director of Kanawha senior services agency fired
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The director of Kanawha Valley Senior Services was fired during a special meeting this morning.
The agency's board of directors unanimously voted to fire Janie Hamilton, said Clifford Kees, board president.
Kees would not comment about why Hamilton had been fired, citing personnel matters.
"We're going to keep those reasons strictly confidential," Kees said.
Hamilton's termination was effective today, he said. She immediately left the office after the decision was announced, Kees said.
She declined to comment on the issue when contacted by phone.
Hamilton has served as director of the agency since September 2011. She was hired to replace former director Scott McClanahan, who was let go in April 2011.
Hamilton was the director of the Hansford Center in St. Albans before she was hired as the director of Kanawha Valley Senior Services.
The board will begin looking for a new director as soon as possible, Kees said. For now, he and board member Betty Ireland, former West Virginia Secretary of State, will handle the agency's day-to-day business.
Neither board member will receive any compensation for their work while the search for the new director is ongoing, he said.
"We'll be moving as quickly as we can because we need leadership," Kees said. "And we (Kees and Ireland) can't be there full time.
"We'll be there as we're needed," he added.
Kanawha Valley Senior Services is a nonprofit organization that provides programs ranging from in-home personal care needs to educational and social activities.
It is funded by donations and grants from the West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services, state Department of Health and Human Resources, Division of Transit, Kanawha County Commission and City of Charleston.
Commission President Kent Carper was very surprised to hear that the board had fired Hamilton.
"I have no idea what the problem was," Carper said.
He admitted that he had heard "rumblings" from sources that there may be problems at the agency.
"I heard that there was some dissention there, but I didn't know it was this bad," he said.
Hamilton was given a month's severance pay for her service when she was let go on Friday, Kees said, though he didn't know the exact amount.
He also claimed to not know Hamilton's yearly salary.
Kees said Friday's decision was difficult.
"It's always hard when you have to terminate someone."
Kees does not believe the move will affect the level of services offered by the agency.
Hamilton recently commented about Carper's move to look at transferring control of the senior nutrition program in Kanawha to a county agency.
Carper has become dissatisfied with the services provided by Putnam Aging, the agency responsible for providing meals to seniors in Kanawha. County staff members are now looking into Putnam Aging's service in the county.
Kees said Hamilton's termination had nothing to do with her comments in an article about Putnam Aging.
Carper does not believe Friday's decision to fire Hamilton will negatively affect the county's investigation into Putnam Aging.
"I'm not 100 percent sure it needs to be taken away from Putnam Aging yet," he said.
Carper added that if he did push for a transfer of control of the senior nutrition program, that agencies in the area other than Kanawha Valley Senior Services could bid on that program.