Caroline officials sworn in
DENTON — Several recently elected Caroline County officials were sworn in to four-year terms in office Tuesday, Dec. 4, at the Caroline County Circuit Courthouse.
Caroline County Circuit Court Judge Jonathan Newell first swore in Clerk of the Circuit Court Terry Lord, who then swore in Judges of the Orphan Court Ellery Adams, Ronald Fearins and Jeff Porter; Register of Wills Jim Phelps; Sheriff Randy Bounds; and County Commissioners Wilbur Levengood Jr., Dan Franklin and Larry Porter.
The proceedings were attended by several state delegates, municipal elected officials and friends and family.
Later that evening, Lord swore in re-elected Caroline County Board of Education member Jim Newcomb, prior to the board’s monthly meeting.
Newell, who was elected to a full 15year term, will be sworn in Monday, Dec. 10, at the courthouse.
The final swearing-in will be that of Caroline County State’s Attorney Joe Riley in January.
Before swearing in Lord, Newell said anyone who runs for political office in the age of 24-hour news cycles and the internet should be appreciated.
“We live in a contentious and critical political world,” Newell said. “Today, society revels in bad news, and sometimes, fake news.”
In addition to the scrutiny, Newell said running a political campaign costs candidates money, time away from their families and, in some cases, even friendships.
Still, Newell said, there is no greater reward than serving the public.
The Rev. Paul Twining offered an invocation, praying to God to give all the officials the courage and wisdom necessary to carry out their duties.
Newell then recognized Dale Minner, who officially retired Nov. 30 after nine terms — 36 years — as Caroline County’s clerk of the circuit court.
Minner said when he announced a year ago he was not seeking reelection to a 10th term, a lot of people thanked him for a job well done.
“I realized they were all people I’d gotten out of jury duty,” Minner joked.
Minner said it was a good day for Caroline County’s citizens, because in Lord, they were about to get a new clerk of the circuit court who would ensure the same quality of service citizens have come to expect from the office.
“You couldn’t get a more qualified person to take over this job,” Minner said.
Minner thanked the clerk of the circuit court office staff, and all the citizens who had voted for and supported him over his career.
“Hopefully, I was able to help you when you needed my help,” Minner said. “And if not, talk to (Lord), and she’ll fix it for you.”
Lord thanked her friends and family and her predecessor, Minner, for all their support throughout her campaign.
Later, after everyone was sworn in, the Caroline County commissioners presented Minner with a plaque, dedicating the land records room to him, in recognition of his long career and especially his work in digitally preserving all the land records dating back to the county’s founding.
Minner said he worked with all the clerks of court across the state, as well as with the state office, to transform the land records from just a “dungeon” of a room filled with old books to an online database, allowing anyone to search Maryland’s entire history of land records from anywhere.
“This is really an honor,” Minner said. “Record keeping is the most important part of what clerks do, and this was my biggest accomplishment.”
A reception for all the elected officials followed at the Market Street Public House.
Caroline County’s winning candidates in the Nov. 6 election were sworn in Tuesday, Dec. 4, in the Caroline County Circuit Courthouse. Pictured, from left, front row: Judge of the Orphans’ Court Ellery Adams; Judge of the Orphans’ Court Ronald Fearins; Del. Jeff Ghrist, R-36; Commissioner Larry Porter; Del. Steve Arentz, R-36; Commissioner Dan Franklin; Del. Jay Jacobs, R-36; Commissioner Wilbur Levengood Jr.; Sen. Stephen Hershey, R-36; and Judge of the Orphans’ Court Jeff Porter; back row: Circuit Court Judge Jonathan Newell; Clerk of the Circuit Court Terry Lord; Register of Wills Jim Phelps; and Sheriff Randy Bounds.