The West Virginia Ethics Commission fined and reprimanded the Logan County sheriff for her role in the hiring of her daughter as a deputy.
Sheriff Sonya Dingess Porter must pay $5,000 and confirm in writing that she is trained on the West Virginia Governmental Ethics Act by June 30, per the terms of a conciliation agreement she entered into with the commission at its Thursday meeting.
According to findings of fact contained in the order, Porter’s daughter, Iva Adams, was working as a records clerk at the sheriff’s office when she applied to become a deputy in 2017. Adams began her employment at the department in 2008, when Porter was a deputy under Sheriff W.E. Hunter.
Porter went beyond what the law requires, appearing at her daughter’s physical strength and agility testing; her interview before the Logan County Deputy Sheriff’s Civil Service Commission; and to the county commission to formally request it approve the hire, according to the conciliation agreement.
However, Porter had no involvement with her daughter’s written examination, polygraph test, or background check.
Though the law does not require the sheriff to appear before the county commission to make deputy sheriff hiring recommendations, Porter, like her predecessors, historically has done so, according to the filing.
Porter issued a statement responding to the agreement.
“I should have excused myself during the interview process,” she said. “I believed that I was following the WV Civil Service Code for hiring deputy sheriffs as well as policy and procedure. I never tried to influence the process or anyone in the hiring process of my daughter at anytime. I intended nothing wrong, but there apparently was an appearance of an impropriety. I am sorry for the appearance if it looked that way, but I certainly did nothing wrong to get my daughter hired. I was not found guilty of any wrong doing. It just did not look good my being present. Had I fully understood that I would have removed myself totally from the interview, testing and hiring process.”