Athens County Commissioners Prepared To Move Quickly If Kelly Suspended

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The Athens County Commission is expected to formally consider the candidates to replace Sheriff Pat Kelly on April 1 should that be necessary.

Commissioner Lenny Eliason said the body will likely hear from those who have expressed interest in the interim position on that date either in its regular commission meeting or in a special meeting to be held that day.

According to Eliason that date will be 14 days following Kelly's appearance before a Supreme Court appointed commission named to decide whether he will be suspended.

Eliason said if Kelly is suspended a replacement will be immediately named as directed Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn who told the Commision the County must have a Sheriff.

If he is suspended, Kelly can appeal the commission's decision to the entire court but he would remain suspended until that decision is reversed.

Kelly is under indictment on more than 20 felony counts including theft in office that followed a lengthy grand jury process.

Kelly has maintained his innocence and has said the grand jury was formed as part of a political vendetta against him.