New faces to be sworn in Monday

Published 8:00 am Saturday, December 1, 2018

Public invited to Hail and Farewell gathering at 6 p.m.

COLUMBUS — Polk County will welcome some new elected officials on Monday and say goodbye to a couple as well.

Swearing-in ceremonies are planned for Polk County Sheriff-elect Tim Wright (R) and commissioner elects Tommy Melton (R), Paul Beiler (R) and Ray Gasperson (D).

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The swearing-in ceremony for Wright and his officers will take place at 8 a.m. Monday at the Polk County Law Enforcement Center, located at 164 Government Complex Drive, Columbus. The ceremony will be held in the Donald J. Hill Training Room.

Hill, the current sheriff who has served over the last decade, did not seek re-election this year.

A reception will follow Wright’s swearing-in ceremony Monday morning.

The Hail and Farewell is planned for 6-6:45 p.m. Monday in the Emergency Management Office in the Womack building, 40 Courthouse St., Columbus.

The county invites the public to drop in to say farewell to the elected officials leaving office and meet and greet the newly elected officials.

The Nov. 6 election brought two new faces to Polk County Local Government and another new face to the Polk County Schools Board of Education.

Wright will be the first Republican sheriff in Polk County since 2006.

Beiler was the only newcomer to win commissioner. Incumbent Melton was the high vote getter and won a four-year term, Beiler won a four-year term and incumbent Gasperson won a two-year term.

The three won seats out of five candidates this year.

Polk County Clerk of Court Pam Hyder ran unopposed this year and retained her seat.

Polk County school board members Geoffrey Tennant, Sherry Page and Judy Jackson also retained their seats this year, all running unopposed, as well as newcomer Michael Ashworth, who also ran unopposed for the Tryon Township seat. Ashworth will replace previous Tryon Township representative Jim Patterson, who did not seek re-election this year.

Tennant represents Columbus, Page represents Green Creek and Jackson represents Coopers Gap.

Following the Hail and Farewell Monday evening, commissioners will meet for their regular monthly meeting at 7 p.m. The meeting will be held in two parts.

The first meeting will be the last meeting of the current board of commissioners, which includes commissioner Shane Bradley, who did not seek re-election this year.

The second meeting will include the swearing-in ceremonies of Melton, Beiler, Gasperson, Hyder and Wright. The second meeting will also include the election of a chair and vice chair for the board of commissioners, votes on the Polk County Code of Ethics, meeting procedure, rules, agenda item procedure and decorum, the board’s meeting schedule through the current fiscal year, and commissioner appointments to local boards.

The public is invited to all events.