In with the new, as Polk welcomes new board

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Newly elected commissioners sworn into office; bid farewell to outgoing member

COLUMBUS — Newly elected commissioners were sworn into office Monday night.

The county welcomed newcomer Paul Beiler (R) to the board of commissioners, and said goodbye to outgoing commissioner Shane Bradley (R).

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The county also swore in top-vote getter and incumbent Tommy Melton (R) and incumbent Ray Gasperson (D) as commissioners, as well as Polk County Clerk of Superior Court Pam Hyder (D) and Polk County Sheriff Tim Wright (R).

The swear ins were conducted by Polk County Registrar of Deeds Sheila Whitmire and Hyder.

Bradley, of Saluda, served as commissioner the past four years. He chose not to seek re-election this year.

He is known as being honest and forthcoming with his opinions, and all commissioners said how much they appreciated his honesty and experience with emergency services, especially the fire departments.

Commissioner Vice Chair Myron Yoder said how much he appreciated Bradley and said the one comment he will always remember from Bradley is once when the board was discussing meeting dates for a budget.

“[Bradley said], ‘Well, that’s the first day of squirrel season,’” Yoder said, chuckling.

Gasperson said he appreciates his and Bradley’s frank and honest discussions and appreciates his honesty. Gasperson said Bradley always told him no matter what is discussed in board meetings, they can leave the room and they are fine.

“That’s the way it should be,” Gasperson said.

Melton said there are no words to describe how wonderful Bradley has been to the board. He spoke of his level of expertise and said he respects Bradley’s reasons for not running.

“I’ve got the greatest respect for you,” Melton said.

Commissioner Jake Johnson said the county appreciates Bradley’s all-around common sense and his straight shooting. Johnson said Bradley was instrumental in the county implementing its fire and rescue advisory committee, which will benefit Polk County for a long time.

“We will miss you,” Johnson said. “Thank you so much.”

Bradley said though he and the board did not always agree on everything, it and the county employees have been a great group of people to work with.

“It’s been a great four years,” Bradley said. “Polk County has grown a lot. I really enjoyed it.”