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Jefferson Co. looks to replace Bobby Shirley

By Staff | Jan 18, 2013

After handing in his resignation Friday afternoon, Sheriff Robert “Bobby” Shirley left his newly re-elected position vacant. Members of the Jefferson County Commission met with legal council Monday to determine the process of electing Shirley’s replacement.

There will be no formal election for the new sheriff – at least not this year.

According to Jefferson County Commission president Dale Manuel, the process of appointing a new sheriff was confirmed by the county’s legal council Monday afternoon and will stand pending confirmation from the state attorney general’s office.

“We believe the process will be for the county commission to advertise for applications,” Manuel said Monday afternoon. “The applicant has to be a registered Democrat … It has to be the party of the individual who resigned.”

In addition to being of the same party as Shirley, the application must also hold a high school diploma and be a resident of Jefferson County.

It is the county commission’s job to appoint a new sheriff, not the vote of the people, although residents will have their voices heard during the 2014 election.

Manuel said the new sheriff will be required to file and run for the primary and general election of 2014 for the remainder of the unexpired term. The position is a four-year term, which began in 2013 when Shirley after Shirley was elected.

In the interim period between now and when the commission appoints a new sheriff, the management responsibilities of the office have been turned over to Jesse Jones, who served as chief executive under Shirley and many other sheriffs, according to Manuel.

Manuel added that, during Thursday’s county commission meeting the decision for Jones to take over as manager will be formalized.

Jones says he will not seek appointment for the position of Jefferson County sheriff.

“The county commission will review all of the applicants, but first there will be a two-week period that will be noticed. When the two-week period closes, the county commission will then look at all of the applicants, and will make a decision on who will be appointed to the position of sheriff of Jefferson County,” Manuel said.

The Jefferson County Republican Executive Committee released a statement Monday saying that the commission should bear in mind that Shirley won the general election by fewer than 400 votes out of more than 21,000 cast in the race between Shirley and challenger Earl Ballenger.