CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- After interviewing candidates behind closed doors for three hours on Thursday, state Regional Jail Authority members voted 6-0 to hire the agency's interim executive director as its full-time head.
Authority members voted to offer the position to Joe DeLong without discussion after the interviews.
DeLong, a former House of Delegates majority leader who ran unsuccessfully for secretary of state in 2008, has been serving as acting executive director since February. He said Thursday he wants to continue working on critical issues with staffing, procurement, and finances.
Last month, West Virginia had more than 1,800 prisoners waiting for a bed to open up in the state's 10 regional jails.
Overcrowding is clearly a problem, DeLong said, but added, "It's not an issue entirely within our control. Our concern is how to manage it."
John Lopez, policy and research director for the Regional Jail Authority, and Vicki Greene, administrator of the Southern Regional Jail, were also interviewed for the job. A fourth candidate, Richard Lisenby, was to be interviewed by telephone, but decided not to participate.
A state legislator said last week that Lopez had recently found a listening device in an air duct above his office. Delegate David Perry, D-Fayette, said Lopez had notified Charleston police, who turned the matter over to the FBI.
Also Thursday, Regional Jail Authority members: