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Commissioners begin four-year terms in office

Newcomers James F. Kercheval, John C. Munson and Doris J. Nipps joined returning Commissioners Gregory I. Snook and William J. W

Newcomers James F. Kercheval, John C. Munson and Doris J. Nipps joined returning Commissioners Gregory I. Snook and William J. W

December 04, 2002|BY TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - In a ceremony that took about an hour, members of the new board of Washington County Commissioners were sworn in Tuesday to perform a public service that will last four years.

Five Washington County Commissioners - all Republicans - took the oath to govern the county before a Washington County courtroom packed with family, friends and local officials.

Returning Commissioners Gregory I. Snook and William J. Wivell and newcomers James F. Kercheval, John C. Munson and Doris J. Nipps were sworn in by Clerk of the Circuit Court Dennis J. Weaver.

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Kercheval, owner of Kerch's Southern BBQ in Hagerstown, said being elected a County Commissioner was an honor and thanked his parents, family, friends and voters for supporting him.

"Thank you for believing in me and for the opportunity to be a public servant for the next four years," he said.

Munson, a retired U.S. postmaster, said the coming years will be a challenge because of budget constraints, but that he's confident the county will be in good shape.

"We're all intelligent enough and smart enough to listen, and I think we'll get through this without a problem," Munson said.

He thanked the voters, nearly 17,000 of them, who supported him in the election.

Nipps, who served on the Washington County Board of Education for eight years, said she was looking for something prophetic to say for the ceremony but decided against it.

"That's not me," Nipps said. "(The voters) elected someone who is plain, simple."

Nipps said she also cares for the community, which is why she ran. She said she has a vision for the county that she hopes comes through.

"This is my home, and I will do the best I can for you," she said.

Snook, who has been a commissioner since 1990 and served as president for eight years, said a large part of the success of the county can be attributed to its employees, whom he thanked. He said he will focus on improving education, public safety and economic development.

"As president I tried to unite the past board as one voice and work to the good of the community," Snook said.

Wivell, who is entering his second term as a commissioner, said he hopes to live up to the expectations of the voters.

"Campaigning was the easy part," Wivell said.

He said the county's upcoming challenges will be funding and debt issues, as well as security issues at the local and national levels. He promised to be truthful to the public and asked for patience, understanding and constructive criticism from the public.

The commissioners earn $30,000 a year, and the commissioners president earns $33,000.

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