Though Upshur County welcomed a new sheriff with the dawn of the new year, the old sheriff is not going to be leaving the force.
Sheriff Dave Coffman told the county commissioners Thursday that former Sheriff Virgil Miller will be staying with the department for a short period as the chief deputy of administration. Miller will be paid $18.38 per hour in his new role.
"He is a jack of all trades, and that's how I plan to use him," Coffman said. "He is a great asset to the department, and I believe he is a great asset to the citizens of Upshur County."
Coffman said he believes Miller will stay on the job for about a year, and the job will be eliminated once Miller officially steps down.
While praising the experience Miller brings to the department, newly elected Commissioner Buddy Brady said he was concerned over creating a new job in the sheriff's office.
Brady formerly served as a chief deputy for investigations in his final year before retirement, which he said allowed him to close about 40 felony cases he was handling. Coffman said Miller will be filling that role, but the job title has changed.
"I don't think you can have a better man by your side," Brady said. "I have no problem with Virgil Miller being by (your) side and giving advice."
Coffman said Mike Kelley will continue in his role as the chief deputy, but will be the chief deputy of law enforcement. Sheila Adams will continue as the chief tax deputy. Retiring deputy Richard Moore will remain with the department as a part-time process server, though Coffman said he will stay only until a replacement worker is hired. The position is being advertised through Jan. 23.
Coffman said he is working "as quickly as possible" to fill the vacant Prevention Resource Officer's post at Buckhannon-Upshur High School, and he said he is looking to hire a new road patrol deputy in this month.
"We feel it is very important to get across that hurdle," Coffman said.
In other matters, Donnie Tenney was elected to serve another year as the commission president. Brady was appointed to serve on the Lewis-Upshur-Braxton Community Corrections board, the Upshur County Farmland Protection board, the Upshur Enhanced Emergency Telephone Advisory board, the Region VI Work Force Investment board, the Upshur County Family Resource Network board and the Upshur County Parish House board.
The commissioners also approved the hirings of Christal Dawn Gibson and Mikel Edward Brown as part-time employees at the Child Visitation Center at a pay of $7.55 per hour.