Woman says Kanawha sheriff unlawfully holding two jobs

By Annie Cosby | Oct 30, 2014

CHARLESTON – A Kanawha County woman is suing over claims the county sheriff is unlawfully holding two government positions.

Laura Wilson filed a petition for declaratory and mandamus relief Sept. 22 in Kanawha Circuit Court against John D. Rutherford, sheriff of Kanawha County; governing body, the Metro Emergency Operations Center of Kanawha County; and the Kanawha County Commission.

According to the complaint, at a special meeting on Dec. 6, 2012, the executive board of Metro, which is an alliance between the city of Charleston and the county government of Kanawha, voted to enter into an agreement whereby sheriff-elect Rutherford would oversee Metro 911, reporting to the executive board, without additional compensation, only sheriff's pay.

Wilson, an employee of Metro, says Rutherford assumed the role of executive director of defendant Metro and still acts as the elected sheriff of Kanawha County, which constitutes a violation of the Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act which states that a sheriff should devote full-time to his duties.

Wilson also says Rutherford received wages from Metro and the Kanawha County Commission in 2013 and that these violations constitute a grounds for removal from office.

Wilson seeks declaration that the dual capacity in which Rutherford serves is in violation of the West Virginia code, a declaration that all actions he has taken for Metro are null and void, an order vacating the positions currently held by Rutherford and court costs.

Wilson also seeks a court order demanding that Rutherford repay to the Kanawha County Commission all salaries and benefits received.

Wilson is represented by attorneys Michael T. Clifford and Richelle K. Garlow in Charleston. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Jennifer F. Bailey.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 14-C-1736

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