1. It's likely that your "closed" issues are using a property on the workflow that says "do not edit". You can remove that from your workflow, or implement a "jira admin edit" that goes through a transition
2. But... this is not really the way to delete users, as it damages the historical records. Most sites remove "dead" users from all groups and roles, set their email to a black hole and change their name to say something like "left the org". That clears out their licence seat, stops them doing anything and removes them from assignee/reporter listes etc, while preseving the history (and avoiding having swathes of bulk edits)
(If you want more on option 1, yell...)
One option, as Nic pointed out, is to create a global transition where you can change the assignee. You would have the destination step of the transition to be the same as it started in. We had to do that for the resolution status wasnt getting set, since we dont use it in our workflow, and all of the "Assigned to Me" dashboard widgets go off of that field, as opposed to the status field.
The Jira Marketing team is putting together an ebook on migrating to Data Center. We're looking for pro tips on how you staffed your project team and organized your Proof of Concept. Share yo...
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