Nine Montezuma County officials elected Nov. 6 were sworn in to serve the oath of public office by Chief District Court Judge Douglas Walker during a ceremony Tuesday at the Montezuma County Combined Courthouse.
Those taking office include Sheriff Steve Nowlin, Clerk and Recorder Kim Percell, Treasurer Ellen Black, Assessor Leslie Bugg, County Commissioner Jim Candelaria, County Judge JenniLynn Lawrence, District Court Judge Todd Plewe, Coroner George Deavers and Surveyor Ernie Maness.
Friends and family members attended the event, a tour of the new courthouse was given after the swearing in, and cake was served.
Walker called each elected official individually to stand and raise their right hand to swear under oath they would carry out their duties.
“This is the first swearing in at our new courthouse, the first of many,” he said.
In the oath of office, the elected official repeats this phrase: “I solemnly swear, by the ever living God, that I will support the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the State of Colorado, and the laws of the State of Colorado, and will faithfully perform the duties of the (office) upon which I am about to enter.”
Families took group photos afterwards, the only time cameras are allowed in the courthouse. A handful of newly elected officials remarked on the moment.
“It is a proud moment, and I’m honored to continue serving the taxpaying public,” said Montezuma County clerk Kim Percell, who was re-elected. She said one of her goals is to introduce a public kiosk for the public to access motor vehicle services.
Assessor Leslie Bugg said she is dedicated to performing her duties “fairly and equitably.”
Candelaria said he is “excited to start work as county commissioner. I’m ready to listen to the people, learn the issues and different perspectives, and make the best decisions I can.”
Newly elected Treasurer Ellen Black, said her goal is to “work hard, and improve services” including setting up an online system for the public to conduct business and make payments.
Walker congratulated the elected officials and emphasized the community benefit of the new combined courthouse. He said in 2018, almost 50,000 people had entered through the courthouse screening area, including defendants, civil litigants, jurors, lawyers, witnesses and interested public.
“We should all be proud,” he said, then led a group on a tour of the facility.
All the officials were elected in the Nov. 6 vote. Candelaria, a Republican, defeated M.B. McAfee, a Democrat, with 40.87 percent of the vote to McAfee’s 37.41 percent. The other officials who were sworn in Tuesday were unopposed.