Out with the old, in with the new: Bartow County officials sworn into office
by Jason Lowrey
Jan 01, 2013 | 2802 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Friends, family members and supporters packed the courtroom to attend Monday’s county officials’ swearing-in ceremony at the Frank Moore Administration and Judicial Center. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Friends, family members and supporters packed the courtroom to attend Monday’s county officials’ swearing-in ceremony at the Frank Moore Administration and Judicial Center. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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Commissioner Steve Taylor, left, talks with new County Administrator Peter Olson at Monday’s swearing-in ceremony. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Commissioner Steve Taylor, left, talks with new County Administrator Peter Olson at Monday’s swearing-in ceremony. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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The last day of 2012 saw a new county commissioner, tax commissioner, district attorney, a school board official and the clerk of the superior court being sworn into office by Probate Judge Mitchell Scoggins.

Scoggins, who said it was probably the largest number of new officials in more than 20 years, read the individual oaths of office for each position from both Georgia and Bartow County.

Bartow County Sheriff Clark Millsap, Chief Magistrate Judge Thomas Moseley and Magistrate Judge Joe Tatum were also sworn back into office after their re-election. Anna Sullivan was sworn in as well, making her term on the Bartow County Board of Education official.

The ceremony, which was held in Courtroom D of the Frank Moore Administration and Judicial Center, was standing room only as visitors came to see the new officials take their oaths. In the cases of BCBOE members Anna Sullivan and Fred Kittle, their families joined them at the front of the courtroom as they took their oaths of office.

County Commissioner Steve Taylor said it felt good to officially take the office he was elected to.

“I’m excited and I’m ready to go. I already started, probably a couple of months ago. I went to school in Athens at commissioner school and Commissioner [Clarence] Brown and Steve Bradley have been very helpful to Peter Olson and myself as far as transitioning,” he said.

Peter Olson will serve as Taylor’s county administrator, which is an appointed position. Olson said he would be appointed during Wednesday’s commissioner meeting.

Taylor added he would keep to Brown’s schedule of meeting the first Wednesday of the month.

Looking forward, he said the budget would be one of the biggest issues for his first year.

“Well, of course, the big thing that jumps out at us is the budget. It’s pretty tight this year and we’re going to have quite a shortfall to make up, and we’ve just got to figure out how we’re going to [fix] that,” Taylor said.

Tax Commissioner Steve Stewart said he was ready to take over from VaLenda Bailey.

“I’m excited about taking it over, I really am. ... I’ve let her go out with all the dignity she wanted to go out with, and she’s been so much help to me throughout this whole process. We’ve got a great staff and I’m looking forward to taking it over,” he said.

Fred Kittle, who was elected to BCBOE post 4, believed 2013 is a good year to join the board, as he cited the recent successes of county schools winning awards and starting a career academy.

“It’s great. It’s an awesome time to be a part of it, and they’ve had a lot of really great, positive things over the [past] year. ... It’s just a really good, positive time to be a part of it,” he said. “They’ll be some economic challenges, but we’ve already got the support of the commissioner and other people in the community and the chamber. Whatever problems we have, we’re not alone. We can all work together and I think we’ll do well.”

Melba Scoggins, the new clerk of the superior court, was also pleased to start serving the county.

“For me, I’m very excited to start serving the people of Bartow County. I’m excited to be back with my court family. I’ve worked with them for 30 years, so I had to take a leave to run for this — so my biggest thing is to be back with them,” she said.

Brown said he looked forward to retirement, even though he did not know what he was going to do after leaving office. However, he believed Taylor will be a good leader for Bartow County.

“I think he’ll do a good job. I think he’s a good man. ... I’ve left the county in good hands,” he said. “He’s got good staff, he’s got good people working for him, so he’ll be fine.”