He told the board president it was a "shell game." He suggested the department might lose a position through attrition but questioned if that really cuts staffing if that person is hired by the board or shipped to a Regional Education Service Agency.
In a time when other agencies, including the department, are asked to cut employees, Unger asked why the board expected to be able to hire more.
In addition to Peduto's position, the board is requesting state funds to hire an attorney and a board liaison. In total, the three positions will receive more than $350,000 in compensation.
Linger said it's tough to cut positions when there aren't any; the board does have an administrative assistant.
Unger also asked if Linger thought the board had the right to hire anyone it wants, when it already has the state superintendent to aid it in some duties now prescribed to Peduto.
"When you say that, I think what you're assumption is that the board of education and the department of education are the same thing, and we're not,"Linger said.
Unger said he knows they're different entities, but the board shouldn't need to hire staff when it has the department and superintendent. If it doesn't like the job the superintendent is doing it should fire the person, Unger said, making a reference to ousted superintendent Jorea Marple.
The board is its own constitutional entity and this board is "finally stepping up" to assert the authority granted with that role, Linger said.
Senate Education Committee chairman Bob Plymale, D-Wayne, stepped in to defend Linger. He said the president is engaged in the process, and pointed to the senate recently hiring additional staff members.
Prezioso -- who, like Linger, lives in Fairmont -- agreed with Plymale.
"The idea of him having this individual to be able to have communicate on a daily basis with the department of education -- I think it's imperative," Prezioso said after the meeting.
Also after the meeting, Linger said he was a little surprised at the interaction.
"I understand the question, and maybe on the outside looking in I might certainly be asking those kinds of questions," Linger said. "But since I'm in the middle of it, I see a big distinction between the state board and the department."
The bill was read on the full Senate floor for the first time Wednesday before going to the finance committee. Unger told the Daily Mail earlier this week it's a technique used to speed up passage of legislation.
Almost immediately after Thursday's finance meeting, the bill came before the Senate floor for a second time. This is the time when senators are allowed to suggest any changes they want made to the bill, but none were introduced.
The full Senate is expected to give final approval to the bill Friday.