PARKERSBURG - Wood County commissioners unanimously agreed to hire Dennie Huggins as the new Wood County Community Corrections Day Report Center director.
Huggins will replace Jeff Williams, whose retirement is effective Dec. 31. Huggins has served as chief tax deputy/chief of confinement operations for Sheriff Jeff Sandy.
Sheriff-elect Ken Merritt earlier announced his new chief tax deputy will be Bob Tranquill, who previously served in that post during Merritt's last tenure in office. Merritt, Tranquill and Huggins' new terms of office will all be effective Jan. 1.
Photo by Pamela Brust
Dennie Huggins, who is serving as sheriff’s office chief tax deputy and chief of confinement operations, will become the new Wood County Community Corrections Day Report Center director as of Jan. 1, 2013
Huggins said he's looking forward to the job and eager to get started.
"I want to thank the commission and the board for giving me this opportunity. I am really looking forward to it. I've been told I will have a wonderful staff there and I have personally worked with the results from the drug screening lab through the home confinement program, and they were never questioned; they did an outstanding job. I'm looking forward to working with everyone and getting their input," Huggins said Thursday after learning of his selection.
Commission President Blair Couch, who serves as commission liaison to the DRC advisory board, said the job opening for the DRC was posted internally and seven individuals responded. Three opted not to be interviewed.
"We interviewed the other four and scored them, and the advisory board voted Thursday morning to recommend Dennie Huggins for the commission's consideration," Couch told his fellow county commissioners.
The commissioners said Huggins' salary, at least initially, will be the same salary he is receiving as chief tax deputy, with a job performance review to be conducted after six months. According to county finance records, Huggins annual salary is $55,058. Williams' yearly salary was $58,997.
Huggins has 37 years of experience as a law enforcement and insurance fraud investigator.
"There were really three pieces of the puzzle the DRC board was looking at when considering applicants. One was a financial background, and through his work with the National Insurance Crime Bureau Dennie had an infinite amount of experience, plus his time in the sheriff's tax office. The second criteria was personnel management. He managed a staff of 240 individuals at the bureau plus his experience in the tax office. The third piece was selling the program out in the community, and with his prior experience, we felt Dennie was the best candidate for the job," Couch said.
DRC employees interviewed for the post, and Couch said "no one is being replaced."
Huggins had served as the sheriff's office representative to the DRC board.
"I don't think that gave him a leg up, but it gave him a good understanding of the program. He truly was an outstanding candidate. Jeff (Williams) did a wonderful job for the 3 1/2 years he was there, and to find someone with the credentials Dennie brings to the job is a wonderful thing. We only see good things coming out of the program going forward," Couch said.
Huggins served in the West Virginia State Fire Marshal's office from 1976-1989. Prior to that he worked with the sheriff's department from 1971-1976. He is a Navy veteran.
Williams, 61, had more than 28 years in public service, including 25 years at the Parkersburg Police Department as juvenile diversion specialist. Williams, who has purchased a home in Florida, said he's looking forward to spending more time with his family.