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Candidates for Wood County Sheriff to be interviewed Wednesday morning

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 1:50 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 22, 2021 at 8:41 PM EST
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - The five candidates interested in being the next Wood County Sheriff will be publicly interviewed at a special meeting Wednesday morning.

A final decision could be made at that time, or at the commission’s next regular meeting Monday, November 29. The commission will not hold its regular Thursday meeting due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

The commissioners met privately late last week with the applicants: Charlie Johnson, Gary “Mike” Deem, Henry “Bud” Williams, Joe Martin and Rick Woodyard.

Sheriff Steve Stephens was under investigation by a private law firm until earlier this month, when he announced his retirement, effective December 1.

”Their work was done,” Commission President Blair Couch said, responding to a question by Mid-Ohio Valley Citizen Coalition member Charles Roberts. “We got a letter from them about what they went through; there is no report. They’re expensive; we didn’t want to spend more money for what reason.”

“Are the taxpayers going to be on the hook for $50,000 or whatever it is?” Roberts then asked of Couch.

“I haven’t seen the final bill.”, he replied.

In a letter the commission shared with media members after Stephens’ resignation was received, members of the law firm Goodwin and Goodwin interviewed Stephens in parson about the allegations spelled out in, at that time, a single lawsuit. It was during that interview, the letter stated, that Stephens indicated he would issue a letter to the commission stating he planned to retire.

The commission decided Wednesday’s interview session will mostly be conducted in public, although some of it may take place in executive session.

Couch said, however, no questions from the public will be allowed.

The special meeting begins Wednesday at 9 A.M in the commission office at the Wood County Courthouse.

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