Interim sheriff appointed in Athens County

ATHENS – The Athens County Commission today appointed an interim sheriff.

Rodney Smith, a retired lieutenant and 26-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, will take the place of Sheriff Patrick Kelly, who has accepted a temporary suspension as he awaits trial in September on corruption charges including theft in office, tampering with records and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

Kelly has denied any wrongdoing.

Smith joined the department as a corrections officer in 1987 and became a deputy the next year. He served as operational lieutenant, the office’s second in command, under previous Sheriff Vern Castle.