Where Facts And Controversy In The News Come Together In Truth

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Governor Joe Manchins Leadership Still Earning Failing Grades

National Organizations Give State Poor Grades Since Manchin Took Office by, Jack Swint
According to one 2007 report card issued by the Corporation for Enterprise Development, "West Virginia received the dunce cap" after earning F's again in all three categories of their grading system. In response to that report, and prior years worth of failing grades, WV Senator Brooks McCabe said, "It sounds sad, but I'd like to see a few D's next year".... CFED

From Two WV Inaugural Addresses delivered by the governor, press releases and state generated reports, officials have painted a pretty picture of progress report cards and reform in the states overall improvement since Manchin took office in 2005. In 2010, numerous national organizations still report the same type information as in 2005, show that WV, under Manchin's leadership, still hasn’t really improved at all. In fact, there is a decline in most categories like business, education, transportation and some health categories. In all fairness, West Virginia has routinely received poor grades in these same categories over the past 8 to 10 years…

The governor and state received an overall grade of D.

Bottom Line…. Nothings really gotten any better and some things have gotten worse.


Economic Development
Health Care
Highways & Transportation
State Court System
Tax Cuts & Spending
Legislation (eminent domain, welfare reform & child obesity)
WV’s Homeless Children
Executive Leadership

Under the leadership of Governor Joe Manchin:

WV’s Economic Development routinely received an F since 2005. The term economic development refers to sustainable increases in living standards, increased per capita income, better education and health as well as environmental protection. The governor’s office claims that WV is very successful and is rated high in the national statistics and in comparison to other states. The Washington DC based group, "CFED" has provided accurate statistical information for 20 years on each states standings in this field both separately and collectively. Their group examines categories for each states performance, business vitality & development.

How does WV size up in this category?

Performance - F (the performance of the economy for its citizens)
Business Vitality - F (business competitiveness and entrepreneurial energy)
Development Capacity - F (the positioning of the state for future economic growth)

Our research found that WV’s overall grade from 2005 to the most current statistics is an F too. Note: WV does routinely score high on the number of home ownership’s by race, income and gender. There is a downside, We are also ranked 41 in the nation for the highest amount of foreclosures. (See linked graphs below)
Highlights from one report state that the challenges West Virginia faces include poverty, which is higher here than in many other states. Businesses close more often than in other states, and students are not ensured as solid an education as they might receive going outside of WV. One analyst stated, " Compared with other states, West Virginia presents a bleak environment in which to live and work. Employment opportunities for workers are few, although the state is relatively insulated from mass layoffs." Also, "The business environment is also a weak point in this states economy.
With rankings in the bottom half of states for nearly all the index measures, the state’s businesses are neither forging ahead nor holding their own."
Findings in Education from K12 to college received an average grade of C-. Since 2005, reports show that WV’s education programs have improved marginally compared to other states, "West Virginia has made strides in preparing young people for college, though compared with other states its performance is only fair." In one key marker, students in eighth grade perform poorly on national assessments in math, science, reading, and writing. These are reportedly strong indicators that they are not well prepared to succeed in challenging high school and college courses.
Other highlights of this report show college education in WV has become less affordable and the amount of monies needed to attend college has grown even after deducting for school loans and grants. Only 50% of first year students in community colleges return for a second year.
Next is Health Care, which also receives an F. The most recent statistics in 2009 rate WV with a failing grade in four categories. (Sadly enough, WV received a D back in 2006.
Health Promotion and Measurement, such as the number of programs delivering evidence-based practices, emergency room wait-times, and the quantity of psychiatric beds by setting.
Financing and Core Treatment/Recovery Services, is a variety of financing measures, such as whether Medicaid reimburses providers for all, or part of evidence-based practices; and more.
Another category is Consumer and Family Empowerment, that includes measures such as consumer and family access to essential information from the state, promotion of consumer-run programs, and family and peer education and support.
Community Integration and Social Inclusion includes activities that require collaboration among state mental health agencies and other state agencies and systems.
WV’s Mental Health statistics, also covered in this same group, received an F in 2009.
According to one report: "The state uses mental health block grant funds to support the West Virginia Mental Health Consumers Association (WVMHCA). This association provides alternative & nontraditional services such as housing, supportive employment, peer support programs, including groups at the state hospitals, and a peer support specialist certification program.
Services such as acute and long-term care for individuals with re-occurring mental disorders are scarce or non-existent in small towns and rural areas. Involuntary commitments at the two state hospitals continue to increase because of the lack of community treatment services and lack of supported housing. The hospitals are overcrowded, with forensic patients occupying many of the state hospital beds. Some areas have long waiting lists for services.

West Virginia also received poor national reviews for the redesign of its Medicaid program. The new program, Mountain Health Choices, offers two plans, Basic and Enhanced. With the Basic plan offering fewer benefits. Individuals who receive Medicaid because they are SSI recipients are not enrolled in Mountain Health Choices; they remain in traditional Medicaid. Confusion reigns in the state about who is in which plan; Basic, Enhanced, or traditional Medicaid and the scope of benefits.
According to one source, "Mountain Health Choices is a disaster. It has set the state back in meeting public health needs, financially destabilized providers, and deprived some consumers of needed services in a state that already suffered from uneven access to care and a lack of evidence-based practices."

Lets not forget about the 2008 American Lung Associations report card for WV that gives the state another F for its Tobacco Control in the following categories.
Tobacco Prevention and Control Spending – F
Smoke Free Air – F
Cigarette Tax –
Cessation Coverage - F
Note: Kanawha County gets an A+ for the efforts put forth to stop second hand smoke. Ohio and Hancock Counties receive an overall F for still allowing smoking in all gambling-gaming establishments.
State Highways & Transportation also receives an F. This is due to the year after year increasing percentage of WV bridges that are classified as either "functionally obsolete or structural deficiency." In laymen’s terms, "cross at your own risk." In 2006, WV had 6,956 bridges. Out of that, 1,075 were structurally deficient and 1, 158 were obsolete. That is 2, 593 or 37.3% of all bridges in this state. And, 24% of all the roads were in need of repair. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, this year, 39% of West Virginia’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. And, 37% of all the roads were in need of repair.
WV State Court System received a C-. The Judicial Accountability report card outlined several key issues that were the decisive indicators for this grade. "West Virginia's laws unfortunately include massive loopholes that still allow members of the judiciary to be wined and dined on the corporate dime," stated HALT Senior Counsel Suzanne M. Blonder. Numerous flaws in the Judicial Investigation Commission were also noted that includes no clear description of their disciplinary process. Also, the states judicial websites database lacks any substance or information on past rulings against judges or a section addressing complainants' and or most frequently asked questions.

"At a time when the American public has lost faith in the impartiality and fairness of the judiciary, it's critical that we have an effective system of oversight for judges," stated Blonder. "We hope that West Virginia's chief judicial officers will work to transform a mechanism marred by secrecy into a system dedicated to upholding the integrity of the judiciary." Other concerns are the difficulties for teens to petition the courts for domestic violence orders. Backlogs on cases from small claims, civil and criminal cases all the way up to the Supreme Court. The report noted that it can take as long as 3 to 5 years for workers compensation cases to be heard in the Supreme Court.
In Tax Cuts & Spending Joe Manchin received an A from the CATO Institute for "his concentrated efforts on cutting business taxes to help boost investment in this state. In 2006, Manchin approved reductions in the business franchise and corporate income taxes. In 2007, he cut the franchise tax further. In 2008, Manchin signed into law a repeal of the business franchise tax and a reduction in the corporate income tax rate. Manchin also has an excellent spending record, and recommends cuts to the overall general fund budget most years."
Report cards that were available for the WV Legislators received a C- overall. Several organizations graded the lawmakers in categories ranging from solving immanent domain problems to welfare reform and child obesity laws. Prior to the Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo v. City of New London, West Virginia’s eminent domain laws were among the worst in the country, as court decisions had given West Virginia localities sweeping power to condemn even non-blighted properties in redevelopment areas.
Welfare Reform by way of enacted legislation receives an overall C grade. Child Obesity legislation received a D-. According to the CDC, out of forty-one bills introduced since 2002 addressing obesity, only four were passed and enacted.
Here are those four.

In 2002, SB682 defined Defines motorized vehicle wheelchair and electric personal assisted mobility devices. Requires operators of devices to yield to pedestrians.

In 2004, HCR8 approved legislation for the Joint Committee on Government and Finance to conduct a study on childhood obesity in regards to chronic diseases, poor nutrition, and inadequate exercise.

In 2005, HB2816 approved the creation of a "Healthy Lifestyle Office." And, in 2006 SB785 approved requirements for physical education, fitness testing, and measurement and reporting of body mass index in public schools.

It is noted that since 2005, at least 5 bills have been enacted providing rights and protection to persons suffering from mental illness.
WV’s Homeless ChildrenF. West Virginia has continued to be a hard place to live. Especially if you are a child. The National Center On Family Homelessness report that more than 4,791 of West Virginia’s children experience homelessness each year. According to the data collected by the McKinney-Vento Educational Programs, WV ranks 14th in the US for the number of homeless children.

Also, West Virginia has 69,000 children living in poverty. Of those 69,000, seven out of every one hundred (7%) are homeless. Ninety-three percent of the children living in families with incomes below the poverty level are White, five percent are Black and two percent are Hispanic. The average monthly income for a single mother in West Virginia who receives public assistance is less than $819, or roughly 50% of the Federal Poverty Level.
The governors overall grade for his Executive Leadership receives a D-.
Some Of Those Highlights to date…
Manchin began his first term immediately by dissolving away the states failed workers compensation blunder by allowing a newly created private company, "BrickStreet" to sell WC insurance. This created the states first "coercive monopoly" business in WV by not allowing anyone else to compete in WC coverage. Then, the governor appointed Greg Burton to run BrickStreet, Burton all but bankrupted the states version of WC. Next, the governor began moving some of the state bank accounts over to Centra Bank in which he reportedly owns stock.

These accounts, holding millions from the Racing Commission, were exempt from examination by state auditors, which has led to millions being "misplaced." Manchin then paid off the huge deficit left by the old WC program through the Lottery & Racing Commission profits. At the same time, Manchin spent approx. 1.8 million to upgrade and remodel the governors mansion that includes a new state of the art sports bar complete with 12 LCD big screen TV's, gambling tables and special built designer chairs and pool tables in their private quarters.

Most shocking and deplorable is while WV residents are struggling, and children are homeless and or living in poverty, the governor is buying new Harley Davidson motorcycles, exotic cars, airplanes, a yacht and vacation homes.

In what most people believe was the re-payment of campaign promises, the governor appointed his friend and Charleston lawyer, Mike Garrison as president of WVU. Not long after that, Garrison and other key university staff had to resign after Manchins daughter was illegally granted her MBA from the university. This scandal will most likely go down as the governor’s worst nightmare while in office. Mylan Pharmaceuticals, who employs the governors daughter, had been gifting WVU with the tens of millions of dollars, they also gifted gubernatorial candidate, then Secretary of State, Manchin with free campaign helicopter rides. Manchin was also responsible to investigate campaign finance violations. Connections to Manchin and Mylan funny money wont be the only problem in the mountain state to come.
Also during his first term as governor, Manchin practiced nepotism. He appointed his wife to the West Virginia Board of Education; their son, Joseph Manchin IV, to the West Virginia Tourism Commission; and his cousin, Mark Anthony Manchin, as executive director of the West Virginia School Building Authority. In late 2008, the FBI and US Attorneys office made it known several high ranking executives in the ABC division were served federal subpoenas in an investigation into possible violations concerning mis-use of liquor and accepting bribes-favors. Manchin denies any knowledge. Manchin also interceded for DuPont to lower the 382 million-dollar fine imposed for gross violations for deliberately dumping toxic chemicals in inhabited areas. He actually filed a "friend of the court" brief for DuPont.

By the end of his first term, the majority of the governors top staff (who had been with him since day 1) quickly departed. Press Secretary Laura Ramsburg, Director of Public Policy, Brian Kastic and General Counsel, Carte Goodwin all said a goodbye.
But, chief of staff, Larry Puccio remained by Manchins side. Reportedly, its because Puccio enjoys his $109,000 a year pay for a 3.5 day state workweek. A new dark blue gas guzzling state owned Dodge Durango that he is allowed to drive to and from his home in the Clarksburg - Fairmont area. And, being allowed to "double dip" into state monies with his private real estate appraisal business that bids on state contracts.
End Of Story

Jack Swint-Publisher
West Virginia News
Example Of Links To Report Cards & Reports:



If you would like to leave your comments about this, or other stories, use the comment section below. Or E-Mail at the address above.


Anonymous said...

Dear Sam and Jack: I realize it's a small thing but on the final report the grade was actually a D not a D minus. Still less than steller, but we have some bright spots. The State is just a stepping stone for Joe...these reports always depress me. Haven't had a raise in 5 years, guess I should be lucky I have a job.


You want to read something, read the report at the link above.

The first line is, "The extent to which a society utilizes its human potential is among the chief determinants of its prosperity."

Nuf said!

Anonymous said...

From what I read, Manchin really deserved an "F" for his leadership. Your kindness of only grading him with a D- was above and beyond what he deserves.

Anonymous said...

Wow…. It is either an ironic endorsement of your premise about the poor state of education in the State of West Virginia or a brilliant marketing idea that your article is so full of grammatical errors!

To give you a hint, start with “Categories” (plural) not “Category’s” (possessive). Then see if you can find at least five more errors in the remainder of the text. There are plenty, so it shouldn’t be that difficult. (Hint – there are several plural vs. possessive vs. plural possessive errors.) Then take a guess what grade an eighth grade English teacher would give your writing.

West Virginia News said...

Thanks for the spelling lesson....Id like to say it was a marketing idea.


Anonymous said...

Hell with any spelling errors that may be in this story, Governor Manchin has done nothing for this state except make it a continuing joke for all other states. GREAT STORY!

And if the person above who criticized any writing errors can't find anything else wrong with the facts in this story,you must like to just bitch about everything.

Keep writing these stories.

Anonymous said...

The spelling teacher had to be Jane Claymore. She's the only one I know who would be that jealous of someone writing a story she only wished she had written.

Anonymous said...

Way to go Joe. Maybe as more people have to get on welfare and or become homeless, you can celebrate by buying a new car or something nice and expensive.

Anonymous said...

Maybe he could get another girl friend like Mark Sanford in South Carolina. How come Joe hasn't made the national news?

ASimWen said...

Your take on the privatization of the workers compensation system is extremely biased. Manchin did not magically create this 45 days after he became governor. It had been in the works for years, he happened to be governor when it came to pass. It was easy for him to make this campaign promise because it was a shoo in. If you check Senate Bill 1004, you will learn how it really came about. You should run an article about the success of BrickStreet and the positive economic impact it has had on the state, as well as all the community events Brickstreet invests and participates in. I see them quite frequently in places like the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure, Special Olympics, and so on.

BrickStreet does not behave in any disimiliar way than another business trying to make it in the WV state, especially an insurance company. If any insurance company simply paid out a claim without investigation first, it would go bankrupt in no time. It only makes good business sense to look into the matter before paying out potentially thousands of dollars for a claim. After all, West Virginia has the distinction of being known as the 'Sue Happy' state were frivolous lawsuits clog our court systems on a daily basis. There are many who file fake claims as well, I would imagine. I for one am glad BrickStreet is in our state, that they area successful, and I hope they choose to stay. You read every day about failed businesses in West Virginia. Is it bad to be successful?
I have read your article on how foreign companies are buying up US Treasuries...guess what. BrickStreet is owned by WV interests and employ only people in WV.

Oh and I see you have comments moderation turned on. I bet dollars to doughnuts you don't publish this comment exactly the way I wrote it, if you publish it at all.

Anonymous said...

Has to be an employee of Brickstreet. I remember when this came about. It was in deference to the workers of West Virginia and still is. If it is still owned by West Virginians I'll bet I can name them. To even consider that Brickstreet is legitimate and for the workers of West Virginia is laughable.

Anonymous said...

Bullshit about Jayne Claymore and the "plurals"...had to be JOANNE JAEGAR TOMBLIN.
She's the one in "EDUCATION"?
(Like she's smart married to Earl Ray?)
Let's spell FIELDS with an "S" children.
OK Ms. Tomblin.

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