Kent County officials take oaths of office
CHESTERTOWN — Kent County saw a transfer of power Dec. 3 when the new board of Kent County Commissioners was sworn into office.
With the exception of school board members, who will be sworn in Dec. 10, and the state’s attorney, who will be sworn in Jan. 3 per Maryland Constitution, all county officials elected last month took their oaths in one ceremony held at the Kent County Courthouse.
“The taking of the oath of office is a significant event and that’s true whether it’s the first time, like our two new commissioners, or whether it’s what seems like the 20th or 30th with the sheriff or the clerk of the court,” said Circuit Court Judge Harris Murphy, who was elected to a 15-year term last month, at the start of the ceremony.
Murphy also emphasized the significance for the people who live in the county because “although the elected officials are the ones taking the oath and assuming their position within the government, they are not the source of authority within our government, the people are.”
Murphy read from the preamble of the Maryland Constitution: “That all Government of right originates from the People, is founded in compact only, and instituted solely for the good of the whole.”
Murphy also highlighted the significance of “the peaceful transfer of power from group of the people’s representatives to the other.” He said this phenomena has been “going on for so long now in this country that it’s taken for granted.”
Murphy quoted George Washington, saying, “’What is most important of this grand experiment, the United States? Not the election of the first president but the election of its second president. The peaceful transition of power is what will separate this country from every other country in the world.’
“Again that’s been happening for a long time now, and you can take it for granted. And we are very fortunate in this county and this state to have a group of officials who probably don’t need to be reminded of these things,” Murphy said.
Murphy asked the audience to take a moment and remember that the origin of authority comes from people, as well as to reflect on the peaceful transfer of power.
Murphy then was sworn in first by Clerk of the Circuit Court Mark Mumford, who then was sworn in by Murphy.
Mumford’s staff then reaffirmed their oaths.
“These are the folks that get it done,” Mumford said in praise of his staff.
Register of Wills Kristi Osborn was sworn in next. Her deputies then reaffirmed their oaths.
Newly elected commissioners Bob Jacob and Tom Mason then were sworn in by Mumford, as well as Ron Fithian who was re-elected to office.
The three judges of the Kent County Orphans’ Court — Elroy G. Boyer Jr., Betty Carroll and Amy Nickerson — were sworn in next.
Lastly, Sheriff John Price was sworn in, followed by all his deputies.
After the ceremony, many of the elected officials and community members attended a meet-and-greet in the Kent County Commissioners’ hearing room in the R. Clayton Mitchell Building.
In a brief interview after the ceremony, Price said since September, when he resigned due to requirements of his pension plan, he has been trying to stay busy.
Despite his time away from the office he has held for more than two decades, Price still attended monthly town council meetings around the county. He said also he tried to keep in touch with what was going on around the county.
“(I’m) very happy to be back as the sheriff of Kent County,” Price said. “I appreciate the support of the citizens of Kent County gave me to make that happen.”
He said he is looking forward to very positive things in the next four years.
“I have a great staff and good things are ahead of us I hope,” Price said.
For the two new commissioners, Jacob and Mason, both said taking on their new roles is overwhelming, but they are ready to get to work.
“I think at the same time if you weren’t just a little overwhelmed by it, you wouldn’t be human, but I am looking forward to it,” Mason said.
As someone who has not been in office before, Mason said he is “feeling good about it” and is looking forward to helping the county.
“Hopefully, we are going to be able to do somethings to move Kent County forward business-wise and make it easier for people to just live their lives,” Mason said.
Jacob said he is ready to get started. He said he plans to start working on the goals he outlined in his campaign platform.
“Even though those are longer-term goals, I would like to get those goals started as soon as possible,” Jacob said. “I’m just a very common sense oriented guy and I’m going to push common sense decisions.”
Jacob also thanked everyone who voted for him.
“I’m here to serve all the people not just the ones who voted for me, I’m now representing everybody,” Jacob said.
Newly sworn-in Commissioner Tom Mason signs the test book Dec. 3 after taking his oath at the Kent County Courthouse.
Sharon John Price holds the Bible while Kent County Sheriff John Price, center, is sworn in by Clerk of the Circuit Court Mark Mumford during a ceremony Dec. 3 at the Kent County Courthouse.