As County Judge Darrell Cockerham prepares for the swearing-in of newly elected officials during a New Year’s Day ceremony at the courthouse, commissioners are preparing their two new colleagues to hit the ground running.
At the first of the year, James Deaver will be replacing Mike Sympson as commissioner for Precinct 1, and Jeff Tout will move into the Precinct 3 office that has been occupied by Leonard Heathington.
Commissioners Steve Berry and Dick Roan said Monday that the newly elected officials are being welcomed into the fold, even by the men they defeated at the polls.
“Mike has really extended the olive branch,” Berry said, confirming what Deaver had already told the Hood County News about his former election rival. “To me, it’s a win-win for the taxpayers and the voters.”
Berry said that Deaver, who works four, 10-hour days in the county Road Ops department, for some time has been coming to Annex 1 on his day off. That’s where commissioners offices are located.
Office manager Glenda Mockee, he said, has helped Deaver and Tout register for required trainings that are scheduled for this month and next month. Both attended last week’s monthly meeting of the Hospital District board, at the invitation of their new colleagues.
“They’re both quick studies, as far as learning is concerned, and the attitudes are such that they want to do a good job, and they want to be well informed, so they’re already doing their homework,” said Roan.
Berry said that complex issues of particular importance are the building of the voter-approved recreation center, the likely construction of a new animal control facility and the planned Cresson bypass.
Though Sympson has been spending time with Deaver, Berry said that Heathington and Tout have not had much contact, but not because Heathington has been unwilling to do so.
Tout, he said, had wanted to wait until after the November election was over to make any moves regarding meetings with commissioners. Deaver, on the other hand, began stopping by on his day off a couple of months ago, Berry said.
Roan said that no plans have been made to recognize the service of the two outgoing commissioners, but that is because they have each requested that nothing special be done.
oath of office ceremony
Cockerham announced last week that the swearing in of new and returning county officials will take place at midnight New Year’s Eve and at 9 a.m. Jan. 1 at the courthouse.
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