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'The biggest crowd' sworn in

January 05, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - Twenty-two elected and appointed judges, county, borough, township and appointed officials took the oath of office Friday in front of a packed courtroom at the Franklin County Courthouse.

"By golly, this is the biggest crowd I've seen for trials or anything," President Judge John R. Walker told the elected officials, friends, family and county employees.

Freshmen taking office included two new county commissioners, Democrat Bob Ziobrowski and Republican David S. Keller, and Sheriff Dane Anthony, but most of those taking the oath were familiar faces.

District Attorney John F. Nelson, Clerk of Courts William E. Vandrew, Prothonotary Linda Beard, Register and Recorder Linda Miller, Controller Carol Fix Diller and Coroner Jeffrey R. Conner, have all served multiple terms.

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Wearing their black robes, Judge Richard Walsh and Magisterial District Judge Todd R. Williams were sworn in. Walsh won a retention election after a decade in office, and Williams, appointed following the death of Magisterial District Justice Larry Meminger in 2005, won election to a six-year term in November.

"The major challenge for us in the next four years is the uncertainty of state and federal funding streams," Ziobrowski said at a reception hosted by the Franklin County Bar Association. "The impact on the general fund can be enormous if those funds don't maintain present levels."

Anthony worked in the Sheriff's Office for more than 15 years, but will be running now that former Sheriff Robert Wollyung retired after four terms. He said he does not plan a major personnel shake-up.

"I did meet with all the deputies about two weeks ago, and we discussed some of their concerns and interests and my expectations," Anthony said.

One of those expectations is passing an annual physical, the former professional baseball player said.

"It's not designed to embarrass anybody ... but in this line of work, it's for their own good" and the safety of those in the courthouse, Anthony said.

Deputies have to qualify with a firearm every year, but rarely have to use them, Anthony said. On the other hand, just about every deputy has wrestled with someone in a courtroom or chased down a prisoner trying to escape.

"I think it's better to be a bad shot and in great shape," he said.

The ceremony was open to anyone elected in November who wished to participate. Hamilton Township Supervisor Randall E. Negley, Southampton Township Supervisor Mel Wadlinger and St. Thomas Township Supervisor Jim Faith took their oaths as did Chambersburg Mayor Peter Lagiovane, Chambersburg Councilman Tom Newcomer and Waynesboro Councilmen Ronnie Martin, C. Harold Mumma and Benjamin H. Greenawalt.

"What we have today here is the essence of democracy," Walker said. "You may think some of them are rascals and scalawags," but they were the people's choice, Walker said of the politicians.

"We have to work together to make a democracy work," the judge said.

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