KEYSER - Mineral County sheriff Jeremy Taylor confirmed to the News Tribune Monday that he has also been employed as a full-time firefighter in Berkeley County since February.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - Mineral County sheriff Jeremy Taylor confirmed to the News Tribune Monday that he has also been employed as a full-time firefighter in Berkeley County since February.
Although the elected position of sheriff is considered a full-time job by the West Virginia State Code, Taylor said he had consulted with several officials and agencies before he considered taking the second position.
“I talked with the attorney general, I talked with the county commission, who was on board with it, I talked with Cody (prosecutor Cody Pancake), and I talked with the fraud division of the West Virginia State Auditor’s Office and the state Ethics Commission - all of whom told me I was fine,” he said.
“They just said I couldn’t do it if I worked within my own county.”
According to the minutes of the Jan. 31, 2019 Berkeley County Council meeting, approval was given to hire Taylor and six other firefighters at an annual salary of $44,850, effective upon completion of a physical and drug screening.
The recommendation was made by Eddie Gochenour, director of the Berkeley County Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
Taylor said he is stationed at the Baker Heights Fire Department near Martinsburg.
Recently, complaints about Taylor taking a second job have surfaced on social media, with many citing the section of the state code which reads: “Any county clerk, circuit clerk, county assessor, prosecuting attorney or sheriff … shall devote full time to his or her public duties to the exclusion of any other employment.”
Taylor told the News Tribune he continues to perform his duties as sheriff, and works at Baker Heights approximately two days a week.
“Basically, I just don’t get a day off,” he said.
He notes that there “has never been any complaint from the county commission or from my office.”
Although he could not address specifics, Andy Harrig, an attorney with the West Virginia Ethics Commission, told the News Tribune Monday that there is “generally not a problem” if the second job is “across state lines.”
He did note, however, that the question of “whether or not a sheriff is supposed to be on duty 24/7”  has never been addressed by the Ethics Commission.
Mineral County Commission president Roger Leatherman did not immediately return a call
Taylor says the second job has never interfered with his duties in Mineral County.
“If there’s something that needs my attention here, even if I’ve down there, then I come home,” he said. “Fortunately, there hasn’t been anything major happen.”
Taylor said he took the second job in anticipation of the end of his term as sheriff. In West Virginia, sheriffs cannot serve more than two consecutive terms and Taylor’s term ends on Dec. 31.
“The whole reason behind this was, obviously at the end of this year, I’m out of a job,” he said. “I’ve got a family to feed when I leave here.”