The court gave the Board of Education until Friday to respond to the lawsuit. Department spokeswoman Liza Cordeiro said she did not think the board had responded as of Wednesday, but it planned to do so on Friday.
No one on the board or at the department has said Marple's firing violated any laws, and Linger has declined to comment about the situation since the lawsuit was filed. A message left Wednesday with Linger was not returned.
The day before the lawsuit was filed, Linger issued a statement saying he had been "advised by counsel that there may be concerns over the Open Meetings Act . . ." In the same statement he formally announced there would be a meeting today to revisit Marple's firing.
A 2005 Ethics Commission opinion provides public agencies the opportunity for a do-over in cases where the agency could have violated the Open Meetings act, Kirk said during a different interview with the Daily Mail.
The opinion states any illegal action by a board could be rectified "if a governing body takes reasonable remedial measures over and above ceremonial and perfunctory ratification of the official action previously taken."
Today's agenda also includes consideration of hiring a new superintendent and the "oath of office." Cordeiro previously told the Daily Mail the oath was included just in case the board decided to hire a new superintendent.
Within hours of the board's original vote to fire Marple, Linger suggested hiring Jim Phares as her replacement. Phares is currently Randolph County superintendent. Although Linger moved to vote on Phares' hiring the same day Marple was fired, the board eventually decided to put the matter off until a Nov. 23 meeting. They named Deputy Superintendent Chuck Heinlein to head the department in the interim.
The Nov. 23 meeting was previously scheduled to discuss the education efficiency audit, and the board eventually decided to push back its discussion of the superintendent until today.
Phares has said he spoke with Linger before Marple's firing about the state superintendent position. Although he previously told the Inter-Mountain newspaper he planned to resign his position in Randolph County before the Nov. 23 meeting, he did not go through with the action after the state board postponed discussion.
On Wednesday Phares said he was on his way to Charleston and planned to attend today's meeting. He said there might be no need for him to be there, but he was excited about the meeting and would accept the job as superintendent if it was offered.
He also said the Randolph County Board of Education will meet Monday and the "potential acceptance of the resignation of the superintendent" is on the agenda.
Haden said Wednesday she didn't know how today's vote would go, but she previously told the Daily Mail she didn't think anything would change.
"I'm an optimist; I would hope that there would not be a search for a new superintendent," Haden said Wednesday. "I would hope that some members of the board would change their vote."
Haden said she thought board members needed to talk about why they wanted to fire Marple, for "transparency reasons."
Some - including West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee - have alleged Sen. Joe Manchin had something to do with the ouster. Manchin appointed seven of the eight current board members when he was governor. Among his appointees is his wife, Gayle.
Linger, White, Bob Dunlevy and Mike Green were all appointed by Manchin and all voted to fire Marple. Manchin, a Democrat, also appointed Phillips and Haden, both of whom are Republicans.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin appointed the only other current board member, Lloyd Jackson. He was not at the Nov. 15 meeting; he said he had taken his employees and their families to Disney World and was not "ducking the vote." He has since declined to comment as to how he would have voted.
Both Gayle and Joe Manchin have said the senator had nothing to do with the vote, and Linger previously told the Daily Mail that idea was "bull - - -."
Reached by phone Wednesday, Gayle Manchin said she didn't feel comfortable commenting on today's meeting. She declined to comment as to how she would vote.
The meeting will be held in Capitol Building 6, Room 353.