Athens County commissioners decided Thursday that Rodney Smith will act as interim sheriff until the local Democratic committee appoints a replacement next month for Sheriff Patrick Kelly, a Democrat.
Smith is a retired sheriff’s lieutenant.
Kelly has denied wrongdoing and vowed to fight the charges at trial in September. He is not challenging a judicial panel’s recommendation that he be suspended in the meantime.
The charges against Kelly include theft in office, tampering with records and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. Kelly is suspected of improperly using public funds to buy meals and personal apparel, selling county property to a scrapyard and stealing wire from a county garage, among other allegations.