Jan

05

Elected officials make promises to discharge their duties faithfully

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : January 5, 2013

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell Kaufman County officials sworn in early on New Year's Day before family, friends and other elected officials at the courthouse include (from left) Precinct 1 Constable Shawn Mayfield, 422nd District Court Judge Mike Chitty, Tax Assessor-Collector Tonya Ratcliff, Sheriff David Byrnes, Precinct 3 Commissioner Ken Schoen, Precinct 3 Constable Keith Stephens, Precinct 2 Constable Joe Don Law, Precinct 1 Commissioner Jimmy Joe Vrzalik and Precinct 4 Constable Bryant Morris.

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Kaufman County officials sworn in early on New Year’s Day before family, friends and other elected officials at the courthouse include (from left) Precinct 1 Constable Shawn Mayfield, 422nd District Court Judge Mike Chitty, Tax Assessor-Collector Tonya Ratcliff, Sheriff David Byrnes, Precinct 3 Commissioner Ken Schoen, Precinct 3 Constable Keith Stephens, Precinct 2 Constable Joe Don Law, Precinct 1 Commissioner Jimmy Joe Vrzalik and Precinct 4 Constable Bryant Morris.

By Pearl Cantrell and Erik Walsh
Monitor Staff Writers

CEDAR CREEK LAKE–New terms in office began for returning and newly elected officials in Kaufman and Henderson counties New Year’s Day.
Nearly 200 gathered to witness the event in Kaufman at 10 a.m., many of them office holders whose terms were not yet up, along with family and friends.
“I want to congratulate them on the races that they won. Politics is not a gentle sport,” Kaufman County Judge Bruce Wood said in his opening remarks.
Identifying himself as a Baptist Wood teasingly assured those sitting on church pews at the county courthouse that he would not be “passing the plate.”
However, he did begin with a short word of prayer, acknowledging that the Lord is ultimately in control of the affairs of men, thanking Him for the “blessings of each official here which you’ve appointed to serve.” He closed with a plea for continued guidance and direction.
A Bible was handy, with each of nine officials choosing to place his hand upon it, as it was held by a family member, while each spoke their promise to serve faithfully.
Part of their statements included the words: “I promise to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
After 422nd District Court Judge Michael Chitty took his oath, he swore in other court officials, with family members assisting and attesting to the facts.
The proceedings were closed neatly, with Chitty lightheartedly saying, “There’s nothing left to do except pick a jury from this group.”
Scotty Thomas accepted his role as Precinct. 1 County Commissioner Jan. 1, when he took a nervous, solemn oath at the Henderson County Annex.
Thomas admits the big moment was more intimidating than expected, surrounded by friends, family and other elected officials.
“I’ve spoke many times, in front of bigger crowds, but one is different,” he said after taking the oath.
Thomas’ father was a county commissioner, and Scotty campaigned that taking the responsibility seriously and following in his fathers footsteps were among his goals. The seriousness of those campaign promises appeared to contribute to his nervousness.
Joining Thomas by taking their own oaths were Precinct 3 Commissioner Ronny Lawrence, Fire Marshal Darrell Furrh, and Precinct 3 Constable David Grubbs.
Grubbs’ oath nearly didn’t happen, as an error resulted in him arriving just as judge Richard Sanders was wrapping up.
This however, didn’t stop Grubbs. After a few minutes, he settled into the front of the room with Sanders and was sworn in properly.

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