Politicians swear to serve

January 06, 2004|by DON AINES

Looking over a courtroom with about 150 newly elected and re-elected politicians, family members and guests Monday morning, Franklin County President Judge John R. Walker remarked on who was not present at the swearing-in ceremony.

"We have no Borough of Chambersburg officials," Walker said. "They were all sworn in ahead of time."

Walker was referring to five council members who were sworn in Friday before District Justice Gary Carter. Walker had been invited by Council President William McLaughlin to administer the oath to the council members Monday night, but a difference of opinion between him and Mayor Tom Newcomer, who normally administers the oath of office, resulted in the Friday ceremony.

Walker went ahead with Monday's ceremony at the Franklin County Courthouse, administering the oath of office to approximately 30 county, judicial borough, township and appointed officials. First up was fellow Judge Douglas W. Herman, who won his retention election in November.


Re-elected District Justice Larry Meminger, dressed in his judicial robe, and new district justices Richard Alloway II and Kelly L. Rock also were sworn in. Alloway said that, like Rock, he has yet to get the robe he ordered within the past few weeks.

"I'm just looking forward to getting started," Alloway said after the ceremony. He said he has retained the staff of John Weyman, whom he defeated in November.

"They can definitely show me what's going on in the office," he said.

G. Warren Elliott, Bob Thomas and Cheryl Plummer were sworn in for their third full terms on the board of county commissioners. He also swore in eight re-elected county officials, including County Coroner Jeffrey R. Conner.

"Mr. Conner, I'm always glad when I can see you," Walker said.

"As long as I can see him, I know I'm all right," the judge said later.

Walker allowed friends and family members plenty of time to take pictures during the ceremony, telling some officials to keep their arms raised until the cameras quit flashing.

"Gentlemen, you are government at the grass roots," he told a group of township supervisors.

All three new Waynesboro council members, Andrew J. Benchoff, Dennis N. Cain and Richard L. George, took their oaths Monday morning.

Benchoff is a law partner of Clinton Barkdoll, whose interim term as a Waynesboro councilman ended Monday morning.

"It's not that I don't enjoy it, but there's just been so many meetings in the last few months," Barkdoll said later. In addition to regular council meetings, he said there also are committee meetings and budget workshops for council members to attend.

"I'll miss helping the public, but not the meetings," Barkdoll said.

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