Gilmer Free Press


The Free Press WV

The original sin: 2011 I am qualified to speak for and support this groups goals.  I will see to it that the Governor does a Blue Ribbon Study of Gilmer County education successes and work with you to stop this consolidation to one school causing the destruction of FOUR communities in Gilmer County. The children won’t be forced to travel.

Result: Change of plans. “I was never against consolidation! I can’t be part of this.  I’ve been elected and put in as President of the board.”  I’ll destroy you.

Local BOE President swears: I have local political influence and will see to it that intervention ends within the first year.  I will be Superintendent and promise to fire the High School Head Administrator.

Result:  Ron Blankenship stays three years and Gabe Devono is appointed by the state as Superintendent of Gilmer County Schools July 1, 2014. The President turns in his resignation but withdraws it. His public goodbye quote regarding Mr. Blankenship? He had “promised the Superintendent to never be an impediment to anything he wanted to do”. Later informed new Superintendent and the Board “they” had been “misled”.

BS continues collecting expense checks for many “principled closed door meetings” no one seems aware of but himself. Once more no communication with local BOE. Even the OEPA and WVBOE begin to see a problem with him. Superintendent approval is guaranteed as BS is put in place over multiple planning committees for more money.

Result: Board President actually says and believes there’s no need to speak with fellow board as he does not feel he “would ever do anything wrong”. Everything is under control. Name dropping constantly. All was done in the name of a local business owner per BS. Leading Creek goes live and more checks collected for Governance Board and RESA meetings with no report to the Board, no report to the public, no report, no accountability, no transparency, really, no board involvement whatsoever. Attempts to personally attack fellow board members in illegal executive session fail.

Sets up a board member to report on questioned educational statistics at the High School. Tells no one.

Result:  When the Head Administrator responds to the report and asks who wanted it done the Presidents participation is revealed.  His response was well yes I did but the board member “WENT TOO FAR!” taking no accountability for his own promotion of board dysfunction. In fact creating and supporting it.

Reports he has it on good authority Gabe Devono will be leaving June 30, 2015. He will be the next Superintendent.

Result:  No change in the takeover status. Gabe still here.

Insists on a move to Minnie Hamilton offices increasing rent to the BOE by four fold.  Funds for education go to support a financially distressed County Commission. Attempts to force an illegal executive session fails. 

Result: No cost savings.  More politics and the pretense of financial control goes back to WVBOE. Medical facility use is now diverted.  A chiropractic office is turned away.

No public information,in fact, board President supports the state appointed Superintendent’s position of no information to the board. The President lets Teachers and Staff know he does not believe control should be returned to the local board. They are not ready. Same thing is told the OEPA afterwards says he is satisfied with the recent audit.

Result: No change in intervention status. One elementary school on a riverbank, in a flood plain and students sent out of county. Money lost. Current attempts to hurt the head High School Administrator are done in the name of protecting made up reports of sexually abused sixth, seventh and eighth grades while the real goal is an attempt to decrease her paycheck in retaliation over an old disagreement going back to a vote of no confidence from the GSC professionals.  Even though he knows doing so endangers any possible future for a High School/Middle School. Seems not to matter, nothing good for the school system appears to matter to President Simmons.

Totally denies actual public board votes to expand minutes request information and items on an agenda took place. Sees and hears nothing that does not support a state agenda and keep him the only one to meet with the Superintendent, the SBA, the BOE or hear of any plans.  Publicly refuses to support expanded meeting minutes or answering the questions of anyone in public delegation or from the board time and time again.

Results:  Public anger, board exasperation. No information.

The Big Question: Why is someone who is very willing to throw Students, Teachers, Parents, BOE staff, BOE members and even local philanthropists under the bus to protect and glorify himself allowed to continue in a leadership position? Why support this farce?

Recommendation: No vote for Lying BS. Show some real support for the capable and honest members of our Board of Education. Send the message it’s time to go BS.

LIAR  fabricator,  fabulist,  fibber,  prevaricator,  storyteller

Related Words: exaggerator,  mythomaniac;  calumniator,  defamer,  libeler,  libelist

slanderer;perjurer;  distorter,  falsifier;  equivocator,  palterer;    talebearer;  
charlatan,cheat,  cheater,  counterfeiter,  cozener,deciever,  defrauder,  
dissembler,  dissimulator,  double talker double dealer,  fraud,  hustler,  knave,  mountebank,  operator,  pretender

~~  Gilmer County Concerned Citizen(s)  ~~

--> Monday, May 09, 2016
Readers' Comments:


What can you expect from the man who believes Night Comes To The Cumberlands was the Master Plan for West Virginia’s economic development and Don’t Buy Another Vote I Won’t Pay For a Landslide was written as a political comedy?

We remember the excess levy meetings where Bill told us all we had to vote for the excess levy or else pay for student text books out of our own pocket.  What a fib.  The public found out too late federal law mandates the books be provided by the public school system.


Always talks about his history with Glenville State. Always first in line to put it down and push to shut it down. Never a good word about Glenville State College from Bill since he left.


If you want somebody running our Board of Ed that thinks a Lewis County school is more important than a Gilmer County school then darken the Simmons circle on the back of the ballot.




Graft, corruption, stupidity, no common sense, are all on view for the entire country. Wonderful that social media can expose so much of it.

It makes you wonder how West Virginia can claim 46th in educational outcomes with the firm grip WVBOE has on failure?


There was at one time, and not long ago,  200K reserved in what the school administrators referred to as their “spend freely” account.

Even Lewis County Leading Creek teachers are well aware of the money.

WV legislators can count this as another of their long list of financial blunders.  We know who has to bail them all out.


How can they come up with $100,000 to patch a peice of roof on a closed elementary school this summer when they don’t have the money for a playground at a brand new one? Somebody needs to ask Ted Mattern.


The WVBOE kept finances because they want to continue to squander your money and they want to continue to keep your elected school board in the dark.

Been there to know how the WVBOE operates.

The decision to restore personnel decisions to your board is a farce. When you cannot hire and evaluate your own superintendent there will be business as usual.

Another observation is that when the State refuses to provide information to your board the farce is exposed even more.


Will need pancake breakfast to raise money for the roof repair.  lmao Can you see Gabe and Bill with their chef hat and white aprons?  lol


Another example of inept WVBOE oversight! If the building is auctioned off the cost for the roof will never be recovered.

How could Mr. Green and others on the WVBOE argue that the expenditure will benefit the County’s children?

Makes one wonder if a deal was cut with a known bidder who will get the building with a good roof while paying a sacrifice cost.

With all the County’s money wasted with intervention an objective investigation is needed and it is needed now.


There is a double standard. The WVDOE can cheat us out of $800,000 because of accounting errors, our school system’s surplus $2,000,000 is gone, $1,000,000 in bond debt was taken on without citizen approval, board offices moved to Minnie Hamilton at a great additional expense to funnel money to the County Commission, and it mismanaged at Crooked Run to the tune of close to $1,000,000 to get us in a new school in a flood zone.

What will be done about it? Absolute nothing because the WVBOE is not held accountable.

All the money is gone and citizens have to raise money for playground equipment at the new school.


It is a pathetic indicator of broken State government when the WVBOE’s waste of the County’s school system money, at the expense of our children, is considered.

One thing was left off. The estimated total cost of the WVBOE’s intervention superintendents is $150,000 yearly to be about 50K more a year compared to what a superintendent in a small county normally receives.

The waste amounts to about 250K for the five years of intervention. That sum is what citizens are trying to raise for the new playground equipment.

To top it off as reported by the WVBOE’s OEPA the current superintendent needs mentoring and remedial training. Where other than in WV would a waste of this magnitude exist?

The WVBOE should be shut down!!!!!!

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