by Tony E. Rutherford, News Editor

Do you remember the embarrassing and chaotic "public hearing" demanded by then Huntington City Council Chairman Scott Caserta when council members sought his removal for asking the prosecutor to investigate the infamous Skip Holbrook payout? 

Council had the votes to remove the chair, but he exercised a surprise option --- he demanded that the meeting remain open to the public and the media --- resulting in the expected outcome but not before council continually held their tongues leaving their biggest public objection to his conduct as "hurt feelings." 

West Virginia's Chief Administrative Law Judge has taken the same tactic, after suspension without pay by the Worker's Compensation system. 

March 8 the next meeting of the Industrial Commission. Judge Rebecca Roush wants the meeting open to the public and press; the five commission members intend to close the meeting.

Through various sources, Judge Roush has complained that she's being fired and/or pressured to resign due to an email which neither she nor her attorney Richard Neely have seen.

Neely told the WV Record that the insurance commission is dissatisfied with Judge Roush's initial awards to claimants.  Secondly, she penned a memorandum outlining the inequities of male and female pay which led to a federal court sexual discrimination suit. 

Meanwhile, she's filed her own suit in Kanawha Circuit Court. 

Cameras are not wanted, but they should be present to record the arguments of why or why not they cannot be present for her hearing as requested. Or their being ejected. 

Editor's Note: Caserta finished his term as a regular councilman removed from the chair. He remains an avid critic of Mayor Steve Williams.  Caserta asked for criminal sanctions i.e. beyond a reasonable doubt for embezzlement. A Mason County special prosecutor presented the case to the grand jury and no indictment was returned.

Conflicting legal opinions and interpretations were involved. That year's audit did not flag the payment either.