by Ron Gregory
CHARLESTON – State Supreme Court Administrative Director Gary Johnson announced today that he will resign, effective June 30, according to a court press release.
The release said attorney Barbara Allen, who served in the same position from 2001 to 2002 has been employed to serve as interim director. The court will search for a permanent replacement, the release said. Johnson has been in the position since March 6, 2017.
The announcement raised eyebrows in the capital city because of heavy speculation concerning an investigation by a government agency of the court, along with negative publicity received from news reports. The news stories have involved reports of furniture belonging to the court that has been taken to the homes of individual justices.
Johnson served as a circuit judge in Nicholas County from 1992 to 2016.
“Judge Johnson has had a long and distinguished career,” said Chief Justice Margaret Workman. “We appreciate his service, and we all wish him well.”
Workman added, “The court is immensely grateful that Barbara Allen has agreed to come out of semi-retirement to serve on an interim basis.”
“I truly appreciate the opportunity the court has given me these past 17 months to work with the wonderful employees of the West Virginia court system,” Johnson said. “I have found my work here to be both challenging and fulfilling. I look forward to exploring other opportunities for public service.”
Allen is a 1968 graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia and a 1978 graduate of West Virginia University College of Law, where she was Order of the Coif and the first woman to win the Baker Cup competition for appellate advocacy. After law school, she was a law clerk for Judge K.K. Hall of the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit for one year. She then was in private practice until 1997 and has tried cases all over West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
She served as Managing Deputy Attorney General from 1997 until 2012, except for her tenure as Supreme Court Administrative Director. At the Attorney General’s Office, she supervised the appellate; tax, arts and education; and civil rights divisions and briefed and argued scores of cases before the West Virginia Supreme Court.
In 2013 she was a clerk for Chief Justice Workman.
Johnson received his law degree in 1980. As a private attorney, he served as Richwood municipal judge and was elected to a four-year term as Nicholas County Prosecutor in 1985.
Further details will be provided as they develop.