(CN) – Sixteen long-time Democratic employees of the West Virginia secretary of state’s office claim they were unilaterally fired in January by the newly elected Republican secretary and replaced by members of the GOP.
Mac Warner won the general election for West Virginia secretary of state in Nov. 2016, defeating incumbent Democrat Natalie Tennant, and was sworn in on Jan. 16, 2017.
That same day, according to a complaint filed July 31 in Kanawha County, West Virginia, Warner fired the 16 plaintiffs.
During the election, Warner had vowed to reduce the department’s budget and repeatedly said government needed to be more lean.
The plaintiffs say they understood their jobs might be at risk, but they were shocked when their 16 positions were replaced by 22 Republicans.
The plaintiffs seek unspecified damages.
They are represented by Ben Salango of the Preston & Salango law firm in Charleston, West. Va.
A representative of the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office declined to comment.