Update 8/02/2012 6:15 P.M.
A fine and a public reprimand, but Ken Merritt remains a candidate for his old job.
The West Virginia Ethics Commission Thiursday approved an agreement, involving the former sheriff's actions in the case of his son.
Brian Merritt was accused of illegally using credit cards issued to the county.
The ethics commission found former sheriff Merritt had not reported the thefts to the county.
Under the agreement approved Thursday, Merritt is to pay a $3500 fine to the ethics commission, plus cover the cost of the panel's investigation-and receives a public reprimand.
But the agreement Merritt signed does not include any criminal charges, nor does it make mention of Merritt's candidacy for the office.
Merritt is the Republican candidate for sheriff in the fall election.
Update 7/23/2012 8:00 P.M.
The West Virginia Ethics Commission could decide whether to approve a deal with a former Wood County Sheriff at it's next meeting.
West Virginia Ethics Commissioner Theresa Kirk says the ethics panel will take up a settlement at its meeting Thursday in the case involving Ken Merritt.
Merritt, who is running for the office again in the November election, faced charges of ethics violations related to a criminal case involving his son.
Merritt, while sheriff, was accused of getting involved when Brian Merritt was accused of using gasoline credit cards issued to Wood County employees for his own use.
Merritt's lawyer says a deal is being worked out which would resolve the ethics charges merritt still faces.
A two-day hearing to hear those charges, which was to have begun Monday, was cancelled.
The next meeting for the ethics commission is August second.
A criminal investigation ended a long time ago, but a little talked about ethics case remains.
It has to do with a former Wood County sheriff, who's running for the office again.
Six years ago, then-sheriff Ken Merritt was probed for allegedly getting involved in an investigation involving his son, Brian, who was accused at the time of using gasoline credit cards issued to Wood County employees for his own use.
A special prosecutor in 2006 determined there was not significant evidence to charge the sheriff with any wrongdoing.
Brian Merritt eventually pleaded guilty to several counts of fradulent use of an access device.
But while the sheriff was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing, the West Virginia Ethics Commission in 2009 found probable cause to believe Merritt failed to notify the county about the thefts after he was made aware of them.
Merritt left office at the end of 2008.
A hearing for Merritt to answer to the charges was originally set for August of that year, but has been postponed several times.
The commission's executive director, Theresa Kirk, says attorneys are to meet some time this summer to set a new hearing date.
That will come after the May 8th primary, where Merritt will face five other challengers for the Republican nomination for sheriff.
Kirk tells us, however, that even if the ethics panel eventually finds Merritt violated the state code, the state ethics law has no provision for his name to be removed from the ballot.
Merritt could not be reached for comment Friday, ...but when WTAP spoke to him a few weeks ago about the ethics case, he said he wasn't aware of it.
And when he was asked what effect this might have on his campaign to return to office, he said it probably wouldn't help it.