Athens County Democrats Appoint Smith As Sheriff Once Again< < Back to
Athens County Democrats have appointed a new sheriff for the fourth time.
After being appointed for the first time one-year ago this month, Rodney Smith was appointed to Acting Athens County Sheriff by the Democratic Central Committee on Wednesday.
The county commissioners and the democratic committee chose Smith as Interim Athens County sheriff to take over for then-suspended sheriff Patrick Kelly. Kelly was suspended after being formally charged with 25 counts in a criminal indictment. He was suspended with pay, pending the outcome of his criminal case.
Smith was then reappointed to acting sheriff by the commissioners after Kelly was found guilty of 18 felony counts, including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and theft, in a February trial. Kelly has since been sentenced to seven years in prison.
A crowd of about 70 people attended a ceremony for Smith at the Athens City Municipal Building, where he was sworn in as sheriff until the 2016 election. During that election, Smith plans to run for official election as county sheriff.
They met Wednesday evening to vote on former sheriff Patrick Kelly’s replacement.
County Democratic Chairman Alan Trout said at the ceremony that he is confident in Smith’s abilities as sheriff.
Following his official appointment, Smith gave a speech addressing his past few months as acting sheriff and what he now plans to do in the seat.
Smith said he plans to continue fighting the drug problem in the region, adding that 90 percent of crimes lead back to drugs.
He plans to continue working with other groups like the Athens County Major Crimes Task Force.
Conflicting language in Ohio law brought confusion as to when Kelly could officially be replaced. Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn determined that an acting sheriff could not be named until Kelly had been convicted and vacated his position officially.