Suwannee Democrat

Mayo Free Press

January 10, 2013

Taking the oath-Lafayette elected officials sworn in-pics and videos included

Mayo — Chief Judge of the Third Judicial Circuit Leandra Johnson had the honor of presiding over the swearing in ceremonies for Lafayette County elected officials on Tuesday, Jan. 8 at the Lafayette County Courthouse with more than 100 guests in attendance.

It was a packed courtroom Tuesday morning, but folks weren’t gathered there to witness a high profile trial. Instead, it was a joyous time of ceremoniously swearing in all the local county officials who had just been elected or re-elected last year.

Just as the courthouse clock was about to chime out the hour of 10 a.m., Judge Johnson opened the ceremony stating, “It is truly an honor for me to be here today presiding as chief judge of the circuit as the oath of office is taken by your constitutional officers whom you have elected.”

Johnson went on to say, “We are so incredibly blessed to live in a country that is governed by the people, that you the people have elected as your public officials, that you have had a say in who is going to govern you, and that we have the comfort and knowledge that, if these public officials  don’t do their job, then you will choose someone else.”

Since many of the public officials in Lafayette County continue being elected year after year, Johnson said it is evidence that they are indeed doing their jobs and doing them well.

Alton Church of God Pastor Tim Hamm led the invocation and began by saying, “God has appointed you and the citizens have elected you to be servants of this county.”

Young Karley Barrington led the gathered crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance and then sang the National Anthem. When she finished, Johnson asked everyone to remember all the men and women who serve in the military.

“They’re the reason that we can be here today,” she said. “They’re the reason that young men and women volunteer to serve our country to preserve the principles of law and justice that have prevailed for over 200 years.”

County Judge Darren Jackson was unable to be present for the swearing in ceremony and Johnson explained to everyone the reason why.

“It is actually a very, very great honor that has been bestowed upon him,” she said.

When judges are elected, she explained, they are required to attend judicial college for one week in January and one week in March.

“Some people call it baby school for judges, but it’s not,” said Johnson.

It’s a very intensive school taught by judges, she went on, and its purpose is to teach new judges how to be a judge and how to do the right thing as far as following the law.

“Judge Jackson has been selected, and he’s done this now for two or three years, as one of those judges who teaches other judges,” said Johnson. “That’s the reason he’s not here today. He’s actually in Orlando today teaching other judges, so you should feel very proud of him.”

Jackson will be sworn in at a later date, she said.

Sworn in first was Clerk of Court Ricky Lyons, who was surrounded by his wife and two children as he took the oath of office. Lyons will be serving his seventh term of office.

Following Lyons was Property Appraiser Tim Walker. He, too, is serving his seventh term and Johnson told the crowd that the voters of Lafayette County were obviously doing something right by re-electing Lyons and Walker because they are evidently doing their jobs and successfully being re-elected.

Sheriff Brian Lamb who defeated a lone Republican opponent in the November re-election proudly took the oath to serve the citizens of the county for another term with his wife and two children by his side.

Newly elected Supervisor of Elections Travis Hart, who replaced outgoing Supervisor Lana Morgan, was next in line and will be serving his first term. Johnson noted that Hart is 
29-years-old and the same age Lyons was when he began serving his first term as county clerk. Hart brings with him an impressive prior career as district representative for the United States House of Representatives (Florida Congressional District 2) and in 2011 he was hired as a legislative assistant in the Florida Senate (District 3) to Senator Charles Dean (R-Inverness).

Gloria Wimberley was the last one to be sworn in and Judge Johnson recognized the fact she is the daughter of outgoing Tax Collector Marilyn Wimberley who served as tax collector for 24 years.

“What an honor to your mother and what an honor to your county,” Johnson said to Wimberley.

Johnson ended the ceremony stating, “Ladies and gentlemen, you have just witnessed our government in action. You have just witnessed the oath that each of these constitutional officers has taken that they have promised to uphold the law and I know that they will do so.”

Refreshments were served in the downstairs lobby after the ceremonies.

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