W.Va. Jail Chief Could Be Fired
(05/12/2011)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The chief of operations for the state Regional Jail Authority may be fired after a court hearing for his aggravated DUI arrest is held in late June.

John L. King II was suspended without pay after he was arrested in April for driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.239, according to a criminal complaint filed after King was arrested in South Charleston, W. VA. The legal limit is 0.08.

Joseph DeLong, deputy secretary of the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, said the department suspends employees without pay when they are arrested for a DUI or similar offense, and makes a decision on their employment after the court case is concluded.

DeLong also said that the department usually fires the employee if he or she is convicted.

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According to DeLong, King was highly involved in the suspensions and firings of many regional jail employees prior to his own suspension, making him familiar with the department’s standards and procedures.

King is a will-and-pleasure employee for the Regional Jail Authority, meaning he can be fired at any time and for any reason. But since he is a high-ranking jail official, the department extended a policy to King that protects covered employees, so that he would not be fired immediately.

John Lopez, director of programs for the regional jails, has stepped into King’s position on an interim basis.

King, a South Charleston resident, is the son of former South Charleston Police Chief John King, who served as chief for ten years in the 1960s and 1970s.

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