Saturday, June 23, 2012

Whatever Happened to Due Process?

While noting that the ouster of President Sullivan was done without transparency and proper procedure, Virginia Governor McDonnell has decided to make up his own rules.  He says that if no decision is reached by Wednesday, he will replace the entire Board of Visitors: "If you fail to do so, I will ask for the resignation of the entire Board on Wednesday."

What is the statutory requirement for the Governor to remove a Board member?  The only grounds permitting the Governor to legally remove a Board member are "malfeasance, misfeasance, incompetence, or gross neglect of duty."  There is nothing in the code of Virginia that says that disagreeing with the Governor constitutes grounds for dismissal.  The Governor's threat, if carried out, changes the clear intention of the Virginia Code.  It would permit any sitting Governor, any time they disagreed with a Board action, to simply remove the entire Board.

The Governor's behavior in all of this comes as no surprise.  To quote an email dated June 12th in explaining the ouster of President Sullivan by the Board of Visitors and reprinted in full in the Charlottesville Daily Progress from someone who claimed in the email to be in the inner circle of all of this: "As many of you know no major decision of this kind can be made at Virginia without the support and assent of the Governor."  Amen