CHARLESTON, W.Va. - It's been more than four months since the state's largest agency barred three of its senior employees from their offices.
Since then, the Department of Health and Human Resources has paid more than $80,000 for the trio while they are on "administrative reassignment" and doing work from home.
Now, outside lawyers for DHHR plan to defend the agency against lawsuits by two of those employees.
The filing could amount to DHHR's most detailed explanation of the situation, which has been festering since summer. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin asked for a "speedy" resolution to the situation. That was in September.
In the meantime, DHHR acting Secretary Rocco Fucillo or Human Resources Director Harold Clifton have repeatedly extended the trio's "reassignment" by 30-day increments.
Charles Bailey and Dawn George, of Charleston-based Bailey & Wyant, are defending DHHR from the whistleblower lawsuits.
Bailey said Tuesday he expects to file a response on Friday.
The ousted trio includes the DHHR's deputy secretary for legal affairs Susan Perry, assistant secretary John Law and general counsel Jennifer Taylor.
In two separate whistleblower lawsuits filed in October, Perry and Taylor blasted the department for a "track record of errors" that they had to correct or tried to keep the agency from making.