PARKERSBURG - Bob Tranquill has been named chief tax deputy and Lt. Shawn Graham the chief law enforcement deputy for the Wood County Sheriff's Office by Sheriff-elect Ken Merritt.
These personnel decisions were finalized Tuesday, Merritt said, adding he wanted to focus on what was best for everyone involved. Merritt, elected in November, replaces Jeff Sandy as sheriff on Jan. 1.
"Those decisions were made this afternoon," Merritt said Tuesday night. "There are still some things I'd like to change but have mainly focused on those so far."
Tranquill has been chief tax deputy every term Merritt has served. Merritt served as sheriff for three terms from 1993-1997, 1997-2001 and 2005 to 2009. He has known Merritt for about 35 years, he said.
The Wood County Sheriff's Tax Office responsibilities include the collection of real estate and personal property taxes, mailing of the tax statements and the selling of delinquent real estate property. The tax office distributes tax funds to the county, municipalities and schools.
"I've been in the position all three terms he (Merritt) was sheriff," said Tranquill. "I love working with the public and I'm always there to help people if they have problems."
Graham said he was humbled by the opportunity offered to him on Tuesday. He has worked for the Wood County Sheriff's Office for 24 years.
"It's a great department to work for," he said. "I'm looking forward to the challenge."
Working in almost every department of the sheriff's office, Graham said being the chief deputy will be new to him.
"I've worked in the jail, been a bailiff, on road patrol, day shift, night shift," he said. "I'm excited about my new position and I think there's a lot of things we can do together to make it an even better place to work."
Tranquill said his main focus as tax deputy will be to give back to the public. He said he wasn't surprised Merritt won the sheriff's race.
"He tried to help a lot of people and that's why he was re-elected," Tranquill said. "He didn't care if you were a Republican, Democrat, rich or poor, he tried to help everybody."
Dennie Huggins has been chief tax deputy under Sandy. Don Dougherty has been chief law enforcement officer.