(a) Notwithstanding any provisions of this code to the contrary, any person not a temporary or probationary employee employed at the West Virginia penitentiary at Moundsville at the time of its closing shall be afforded the opportunity to transfer duty stations to the West Virginia penitentiary at Mount Olive, the West Virginia medium security prison at Huttonsville or the northern regional jail and correctional complex at Moundsville if he or she is an employee in good standing at the time the facility is closed. Any person so transferred shall retain his or her rank or classified service classification, salary and benefits. The commissioner shall promulgate rules pursuant to chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, to effectuate notice and procedures for said transfers: Provided, That the commissioner shall have the authority to, upon consideration of an employee's age and length of service, direct an employee's transfer to one of the three facilities based on staff requirements.
(b) The commissioner shall, within thirty days of the closing of the West Virginia penitentiary at Moundsville, establish and maintain, for a period of two years, a list of all correctional officers who are eligible for transfer pursuant to subsection (a) of this section and who wish to remain eligible for a two-year period for transfer to the Mount Olive correctional complex, or the Huttonsville correctional center or the northern jail and correctional complex at Moundsville. The commissioner shall give priority to any person on the list for employment in an available position equivalent to the position that person held at the penitentiary unless the commissioner determines that that person is physically or mentally unfit for the employment: Provided, That the commissioner has the authority to transfer a correctional officer to any of the three facilities based upon his or her determination of staff requirements.