BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Commission appointed Chief Deputy Mike Coffman as sheriff of Upshur County in an emergency meeting Tuesday following the news that Sheriff Virgil Miller passed away unexpectedly.
The emergency meeting commenced at 1 p.m. April 4, where Upshur County Administrator Tabatha Perry outlined some of the rules that come with appointing a sheriff during an unexpired term.
“This is an unexpired term through December 2024, and County Clerk Carol Smith spoke with the Secretary of State’s office, so due to the West Virginia constitution placing a two-year consecutive term limit on a sheriff’s service, an unexpired term period counts towards consecutive term limits,” Perry said. “I just wanted to provide you with that information prior to your discussion.”
Perry said whoever is appointed to sheriff during the current term may run for office one more time consecutively.
“A person who’s appointed to fill a vacancy in the office of sheriff, and who is subsequently elected to the office of sheriff during the next succeeding term of office and serves all or part of two consecutive terms, is ineligible to be elected for the term immediately following the second of the two consecutive terms,” Perry said. “Again, I just wanted all of our commissioners to be aware of that prior to your discussion.”
The commissioners entered executive session, during which no decisions were made. When the commissioners returned into regular session, commissioner Doug Bush made a motion to appoint Coffman to the role of sheriff.
“With complete confidence, I would like to nominate Mike Coffman as a permanent successor to the office of sheriff,” Bush said.
The motion passed unanimously, and a swearing-in was performed later that day in the Upshur County Circuit Courtroom.
“Virgil was a true friend, and this is not the way I wanted this to happen,” Coffman said.