CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Regional Jail Authority Executive Director Joe DeLong told a legislative interim committee Monday that the authority is not obligated under its regulations to provide 15 days of severance pay to employees terminated for gross misconduct.
"My initial statement that it is required by rule that these people be paid their severance is not accurate," DeLong told a legislative oversight committee on regional jails and corrections.
The policy was debated last month, after the authority provided William Roy Wilson, a correctional officer at the Southern Regional Jail, with $3,100 in severance pay -- after he was arrested for felony charges of soliciting sexual favors from female inmates.
In October, DeLong told lawmakers that he was required under authority regulations to provide the severance pay, and said he was looking at revising the legislative rule.
DeLong said Monday that further review of the rules and regulations shows that severance pay can be withheld for employees terminated for gross misconduct.
"The rule, as we delved into it more closely, does define acts of gross misconduct that a person does not need to be paid the severance," he said.
DeLong said he has been looking at modifying the regulation so that employees suspended during internal investigations could continue to draw pay for up to 15 days, which they would receive eventually as severance pay if they are terminated.
He said correctional officers are frequently cleared of the allegations made against them but face financial hardship by being suspended without pay for two weeks or more.