CHARLESTON — Gov. Jim Justice has appointed Cabell County Sheriff Chuck Zirkle and Wood County Commissioner David Couch to the West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority Board.
State law calls for the board to include a county sheriff and two county commissioners, to ensure that county officials help oversee the board’s duties. Justice appointed each to the board last week, with Zirkle filling an unexpired term that ends June 30, 2023, and Couch chosen for a term that ends June 30, 2024. The state Senate must confirm the appointees.
The board’s role was greatly revamped when West Virginia consolidated its correctional system through legislation in 2018. Operational powers and authority over the state’s 10 regional jails was transferred to the new Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The board now oversees the payoff of the bonds that funded the jails’ construction. It also has the authority to challenge in court the fee charged to counties to house inmates in the jails. The state Budget Office sets that “per diem” charge as a result of the 2018 consolidation, though it is capped at $48.25 until July 1, 2021.
Couch has been a county commissioner since 2007, and his public service has included positions on other board and commissions. Zirkle was re-elected sheriff earlier this month. He previously served for 25 years in the W.Va. State Police, retiring as a captain and deputy chief of staff.
“I appreciate the appointment to the RJA,” Couch said. “I am humbled by the governor’s appointment and look forward to serving.”