Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s director of public policy is leaving the position.
“I plan to spend the summer with my children and explore employment options,” Hallie Mason said in a statement to the Daily Mail.
Mason requested an exemption from the state law that says some public employees, including those in the governor’s administration, can’t work in the private sector for one year following their departure from the public post.
The state Ethics Commission is set to consider the request at its meeting Thursday.
Mason joined the governor’s staff as an executive assistant shortly after he was elected, according to Charleston Newspapers archives. She worked as a lobbyist for several health or medical related clients and as a budget analyst for the state House Finance Committee before joining the Tomblin administration.
As director of public policy, Mason helped “develop and execute” the governor’s policy and budget priorities, according to her biography on the governor’s website.
She helped shepherd some of the governor’s suggested legislation through the lawmaking process, regularly meeting with lawmakers about those measures.
Mason is the third member of Tomblin’s senior staff to leave in the last year.
Tomblin’s former Chief of Staff Rob Alsop announced last April he would leave the position, eventually stepping down in June before joining private law firm Bowles Rice. Cory Dennison resigned in February as the governor’s director of governmental affairs to take over as president of Vision Shared, a nonprofit community and economic development organization.
He was a member of Tomblin’s senior staff before leaving, according to a news release.
Kimberly Osborne, a Tomblin press secretary, also left the administration in October to become the vice president of university relations and operations at West Virginia State University.
Charlie Lorensen took over for Alsop after leaving his position as state Revenue Secretary. Dennison’s former position remains open, said Tomblin spokeswoman Amy Shuler Goodwin.
She said it will be a challenge to fill Mason’s position, but it won’t negatively affect the office’s productivity in the meantime.
“Somebody with an extremely high skill set that she has, it would be a challenge for any office,” Goodwin said, referencing finding someone new.
“It’s something we will do, fill that void.”
It wasn’t immediately clear when Mason would be leaving.
Contact writer Dave Boucher at 304-348-4843 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/Dave_Boucher1.