Days after Bond accepted the role as acting director, the governor announced the state would close the Industrial home so that it could be repurposed as an adult prison. Since that announcement Bond has overseen the ongoing transition at the facility, as well as the lawsuit involving the facility.
The Mountain State law firm also recently called for emergency hearings to discuss conditions at the Harriet B. Jones Treatment Center, a facility housed on the same property as the Industrial home. The law firm argued offenders were not safe at the facility due to a lack of staffing and other issues.
Mercer Circuit Judge Omar Aboulhosn, assigned to preside over the original lawsuit by the state Supreme Court, called for the Jones center to be vacated by the end of September. A few weeks after the hearing, the division announced it is shifting responsibilities at several juvenile centers in order to accommodate the judge's order.
"The governor thinks that Stephanie is doing a great job," Goodwin said.
The governor knew Bond's living situation when she was asked to take over the division, Goodwin said. The state faced a very difficult situation at the division, and it needed to bring in the best person to oversee the transition, Goodwin said.
Other state officials have come under fire when they were reimbursed commuting costs for extended periods of time.
In 2012, then-Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Rocco Fucillo was reimbursed thousands of dollars while living in Fairmont and commuting frequently to DHHR headquarters in Charleston.
Fucillo told WCHS-TV the reimbursements stopped in August of that year after he and Tomblin's office agreed they would "no longer be appropriate," according to Daily Mail archives.
When current U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., was governor, his administration told Fucillo he could not run the DHHR and not work in Charleston full-time. Tomblin's administration eventually allowed such an arrangement when Fucillo was appointed secretary earlier in 2012. Fucillo was appointed after then-Secretary Michael Lewis stepped down for health reasons.
"This administration, because of the unfortunate departure of Secretary Lewis, allowed the flexibility (for) now-Secretary Fucillo to be based in North Central," Goodwin told the Daily Mail at the time, referring to a Clarksburg office near Fucillo's home in Fairmont.
The state hired Karen Bowling, not Fucillo, as full-time secretary. She took over in July.
Goodwin said Friday she saw no similarities between Fucillo's arrangement and Bond's situation.
In January, the Charleston Gazette also reported an assistant director for Workforce West Virginia accumulated $78,000 in expenses while commuting from Fairmont to Charleston for two years.
Claudia George received the money to cover food, hotel and travel expenses. The article also states she received a $62,640 salary.
Other Workforce employees complained to the agency and the Gazette reporter about the arrangement. At the time, an official at Workforce told the newspaper the arrangement cost less than hiring a second assistant director.
Since the story was published, George's invoices and reimbursements have dropped dramatically.