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County officers make it official

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A nearly standing-room-only crowd of family, friends and community members gathered in Superior Court I at the Bartholomew County Courthouse on New Year’s Day for the 2013 swearing-in ceremony of elected Republicans.

A respectful, hushed chatter filled the second-floor courtroom as people filed in shaking hands and mingling. By 9:50 a.m. Tuesday, the gallery was nearly full, and additional seats were brought in for people along the back wall.

Among the many familiar faces in the crowd were Mayor Kristen Brown, Columbus Police Chief Jason Maddix and former Mayor Fred Armstrong.

Promptly at 10 a.m., DeWayne Hines, secretary of the Bartholomew County Republican Party, welcomed everyone on behalf of Party Chairman Ted Ogle, who was unable to attend.

Hines explained Jim Worton would swear in the new county officials after he took the oath for Superior Court I judge, administered by former Superior Court II Judge Norman D. Curry.

Immediately after taking his oath, Worton donned a black robe, thanked everyone for coming and began calling eight officials up one by one to be sworn in. Larry Fisher, however, was not present to be sworn in as coroner.

Richard Flohr and Larry Kleinhenz, county commissioners for Districts 3 and 1, respectively, were the first to take their oaths.

Each of the elected officials received a round of applause and was given the chance to say a few words. Some took advantage of the opportunity, but several declined.

Before returning to their seats in the gallery, the officials stopped at a nearby table where County Clerk Tami Hines waited with official paperwork for each to sign.

After taking the oath for office of surveyor, E.R. Gray took a moment to thank everyone and express his appreciation.

“I want to say it’s an honor and privilege to serve as county surveyor,” Gray said. “I appreciate the support of friends, family and the community. Thank you for this opportunity.”

Once Hope town council officials Paula Pollitt and Jonathan Titus were sworn in and had returned to their seats, Worton stepped forward and asked the crowd for another round of applause for the candidates and declared the ceremony over.

“I think that’s it,” Worton said. “Please feel free to mingle.”

The congratulatory handshakes and conversation erupted and spilled into the hall as people began exiting the courtroom.

Following the ceremony, former Bartholomew County School Board member William Lentz, sworn in as county council at-large, expressed his excitement and appreciation for the opportunity to work in a familiar capacity with “some really good people.”

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