ELKINS - The Randolph County Commission voted unanimously to accept the resignation of Travis Carter, the suspended regional director of the North Central Community Corrections program, at its meeting Thursday.
The vote came after commissioners entered into executive session, citing personnel matters, to hear the findings of an independent investigation conducted by Paul Krepps of the Pittsburgh law firm Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman and Goggin.
Carter was suspended by the County Commission Oct. 16, initially without pay. The Commission revised its decision Oct. 17, opting to pay Carter during his absence.
On Oct. 17, the Commission voted unanimously to hire Krepps to investigate the situation that led to Carter's suspension. On Oct. 23, Randolph County Circuit Court Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong told The Inter-Mountain that she had been involved in a relationship with Carter.
Following a 45-minute executive session at Thursday's meeting, Krepps addressed the commission in open session.
"Members of the commission, I was appointed by the county, by you, to conduct an investigation into matters involving Travis Carter, and I have two documents today to present to you," Krepps said. "The first document is a signed letter of resignation by Mr. Carter and the other is a proposed mutual settlement agreement and release."
In his resignation letter, which was made available to members of the media, Carter wrote, "I am informing you that I am resigning from my position as Director of North Central Community Corrections, effective today (Thursday). Thank you for the opportunities for professional development that you have provided me during the last eight years of my dedicated service.
"It has been a painful decision to resign, but my family and I have decided that it is best to find other employment," the letter continues. "It would be difficult for me to remain in the position and to be an effective leader in light of the ethical allegations surrounding Judge Wilfong.
"We have made the decision to reach an agreement with the county in order to bring this matter to a closure. The county has not uncovered any evidence that I have committed any crime, because I have committed no criminal act. We appreciate the support that so many in the community have provided us during this difficult time.
"If I can be of any help during this transition, please let me know," Carter wrote.
Commissioner Mike Taylor made a motion to accept Carter's resignation, effective immediately, which passed unanimously. The commission also voted unanimously to authorize Krepps to sign the mutual settlement agreement and release, which Commission President Chris See said had been reviewed by Krepps, Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Parker, Carter and Carter's attorney, Bader Giggenbach of the Morgantown law firm Brewer & Giggenbach.
The commissioners and Parker all declined to comment on the terms of the mutual settlement agreement release - or on any matters surrounding the situation with Carter, instead directing questions to Krepps.
Krepps said Carter's letter of resignation had been provided to the media because of Wilfong's decision to self-report her involvement with Carter.
"The investigation did not uncover any evidence of criminal conduct on the part of Mr. Carter," Krepps told The Inter-Mountain. "Mr. Carter retained counsel and an agreement was reached that Mr. Carter would resign. We agreed to the language contained in his letter of resignation and that it could be turned over to the press.
"The county considers the resignation as a personnel matter so I will not comment any further," Krepps added. "He was an employee at this point who resigned."
When asked about the terms of the settlement agreement, Krepps said, "It's an employee-employer issue. We just consider that to be private. If we had terminated him, that would be a different matter, but he's resigned."
Krepps did say the document "is a settlement that there will be no lawsuit."
"If we would have uncovered criminal conduct, it would have been turned over to the prosecuting attorney," he added.
Wilfong told The Inter-Mountain in October she self-reported the relationship to the Judicial Investigation Commission, although three other subsequent reports were filed in the matter, the judge said. Parker and local attorney Chris Cooper have both confirmed that they filed complaints with the JIC.
Following Carter's suspension, the program's finance manager, Erin Golden, was appointed the acting director of the North Central Community Corrections program.
The program was established in 2005 to provide structure and guidance to offenders in Randolph, Pocahontas and Tucker counties so they may make a smooth transition into the community after release from incarceration.
The judicial system also has the option of using the program as a community-based alternative sentencing program.
Contact Katie Kuba by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at IMT_Kuba.