UPDATE | W.Va. Supreme Court names administrative director

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- UPDATE 4/16/19 @ 12:20 p.m.
Joseph Armstrong has officially been named the administrative director for the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.

Armstrong was appointed the interim administrative director in January.

The West Virginia House of Delegates voted to impeach all four of the state's Supreme Court justices in August of 2018 "for maladministration, corruption, incompetency, neglect of duty, and certain high crimes and misdemeanors." Investigators say the justices wasted taxpayer money on lavish and unnecessary office renovations.

In addition to the controversy surrounding the justices, Justice Allen Loughry pointed the finger at Steve Canterbury, blaming him for all of the expensive renovations at the Supreme Court. Canterbury was the administrative director at the time.

Regardless of who's to blame, the taxpayers of West Virginia will be looking to Armstrong for a change.

“I have very much enjoyed serving in an interim capacity and appreciate the confidence the Court has shown by making this announcement. I look forward to continuing our important work of establishing transparency and accountability in the judicial branch.”

According to a news release from the state Supreme Court, Armstrong has nearly 30 years of experience in administration and human resources management. His career includes working in the natural resources and health care industries in West Virginia.

Armstrong joined the West Virginia Supreme Court's administrative office in May of 2018. He signed on as the director of the Division of Human Resources.

“Joe‘s positive, energetic leadership in the Administrative Office has moved us forward from the challenges of 2018," Chief Justice Beth Walker stated in a press release. "He and his team have worked hard to provide prompt and efficient support and problem-solving for the Court’s personnel in all 55 counties throughout the state. He will continue to work closely with the Justices to rebuild the trust of the taxpayers and the legislature.”

ORIGINAL STORY 1/2/19
The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia has named an interim administrative director.

Joseph Armstrong takes over effective immediately.

“I am honored and humbled to be selected by the Court," said Armstrong. "I will do everything in my power to help move the Court system forward following the struggles we have experienced in the past year.”

Chief Justice Beth Walked announced the appointment Wednesday.

"Joe is committed to the Court’s accountability and transparency initiatives and has shown valuable leadership during his months working with the Administrative Office," Walker said. "I am confident in his ability to step in to this role and help lead the Court forward.”

The West Virginia House of Delegates voted to impeach all four of the state's Supreme Court justices in August, "for maladministration, corruption, incompetency, neglect of duty, and certain high crimes and misdemeanors."

Walker was acquitted but reprimanded by the state Senate after her impeachment trial. Justice Margaret Workman remains on the bench, as well. Justice Menis E. Ketchum II and Justice Robin Davis retired before they could be called to impeachment trials. Justice Allen Loughry is suspended from the bench and trying to block his impeachment trial.

Ketchum will appear in court on Jan. 30 after pleading guilty to federal wire fraud. A jury found Loughry guilty of nearly a dozen of the 22 federal charges against him. He will be sentenced on Jan. 16.

In addition to the controversy surrounding the justices, Loughry pointed the finger at Steve Canterbury, blaming him for all of the expensive renovations at the Supreme Court. Canterbury was the administrative director at the time.

After more than 11 years on the job, Canterbury was ousted from the Supreme Court in January of 2017 by the court's vote of 3-2. Shortly after, Canterbury told our media partner WV MetroNews that his firing was political, "pure and simple." Canterbury admitted to MetroNews that his relationship with Loughry started to disintegrate some time before his firing, but he chose not to elaborate on what may have caused the problems.

Regardless of who's to blame, the taxpayers of West Virginia will be looking to Armstrong for a change.

According to a news release from the state Supreme Court, Armstrong has nearly 30 years of experience in administration and human resources management. His career includes working in the natural resources and health care industries in West Virginia.

Armstrong joined the West Virginia Supreme Court's administrative office in May of 2018. He signed on as the director of the Division of Human Resources.

"[He] worked closely with former Interim Administrative Director Barbara Allen before her retirement on November 30," the news release states.

Originally from St. Albans, Armstrong now lives in South Charleston with his wife Debbie. Chris and Kelly are their two grown children.

The news release states Armstrong earned his bachelor's degree at West Virginia State College where he studied behavioral psychology, and his master's degree in career development from the West Virginia University/Marshall College of Graduate Studies.



 
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