Kent County of­fi­cials take oaths of of­fice

The Star Democrat - - LOCAL - By LEANN SCHENKE [email protected]­coun­tynews.com

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.

PHOTO BY LEANN SCHENKE

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.

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