The Jefferson County Commission will, by law, have to appoint a Democrat to fill the position until the county’s general election in 2014. The winner will fill the remaining two years of Shirley’s term, which ends in 2016. A Democrat, he was re-elected to a second four-year term in November.
Shirley resigned in January following his guilty plea to a federal civil rights violation.
Until the attorney general’s opinion came down Monday, the commissioners were unsure if they could call for a special election, Commissioners President Dale Manuel said.
He said the commissioners will advertise for applicants in local newspapers for two weeks.
“It’s only speculation, but we might consider holding a public hearing so county residents can meet the applicants,” he said.
Five residents have already sent in resumes in response to an earlier request for applicants, Manuel said.
Applicants must be a county resident with a high school diploma.
Chief Deputy Jesse W. Jones was appointed interim manager of the department until a permanent replacement is found, Manuel said.
“We’re going to be looking for someone with a strong administrative background, someone who can handle the administrative and human resources in the department and who can communicate with the public,” Manuel said.
The sheriff also serves as the county treasurer.
The job pays $44,800 a year plus 2 percent of all delinquent taxes collected, up to $15,000.
Shirley pleaded guilty Jan. 14 in U.S. District Court in Martinsburg, W.Va., on a civil rights violation charge.
In December 2010 he was filmed on police car dashboard cameras kicking suspected bank robber mark Daniel Haines while Haines was down and in police custody following a pursuit into Berkeley County. Haines sustained a broken nose, eye socket and rib in the incident.
Shirley faces a maximum 10-year in prison sentence and $250,000 fine.
He is being held on home confinement pending sentencing.