CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Members of the Kanawha County Commission agreed unanimously Thursday on the hiring of outgoing Sheriff Mike Rutherford as chief deputy.Rutherford, at the end of eight years in office, will be chief deputy when his brother, Johnny Rutherford, takes over the office next month. Johnny Rutherford ran unopposed for the office of sheriff earlier this year.Johnny Rutherford served as chief deputy under Mike Rutherford, but has been working as executive director of the Kanawha County Metro 911 Center since August.Under state law, Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper said the County Commission had to approve the chief deputy's hiring. But Carper and commissioners Hoppy Shores and Dave Hardy had no qualms about hiring the outgoing sheriff for the position."There is no one who showed any more honesty, any more integrity, or any more devotion to duty than Mike Rutherford," Carper said. "I'm honored to vote in favor of this."Carper, Hardy and Shores credit the Rutherford brothers with building what they call the most professional sheriff's department in the state.
Also Thursday, Mike Rutherford officiated over one of his final acts in office by naming the Kanawha County Deputy of the Year. The award went to Deputy Christopher Lyons, a four-year veteran of the sheriff's department who the sheriff said was instrumental in cracking a huge ATV theft ring in Sissonville last year.Other nominees for the title included Sgt. Kevin White, Sgt. Brent Borchers, Deputy Carl O'Neal, Cpl. Ana Pile, Sgt. Brian Reynolds, Sgt. Robert Carper II and Deputy Brian Middleton.The sheriff also recognized three deputies with 10 years of service on the bomb squad -- Sgt. D.H. Duff, Sgt. J.H. Thaxton and Sgt. B.K. Carper, Kent Carper's son.The sheriff also presented a special certificate to Andrew Strickland -- Commissioner Carper's grandson -- for pointing out that the sheriff had misspelled his uncle's (B.K. Carper's) name. Mike Rutherford also made Strickland an honorary detective for noticing the error.Finally, Commissioner Carper told other county officials he intended to work up a flat 2013-2104 county budget with no proposed raises, added personnel or higher expenses except those required by rising health-care costs and utilities.Reach Rusty Marks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-1215.