Among the 20 Bulloch County and Ogeechee Judicial Circuit officials scheduled to be sworn in for new terms at 10 a.m. Thursday are nine newly elected to their offices during 2016.
The rest are continuing to serve after winning re-election or running unopposed. As one of his last actions on behalf of the Bulloch County Board of Commissioners, retiring Chairman Garrett Nevil will serve as master of ceremonies. Bulloch County Probate Court Judge Lee DeLoach, on the penultimate workday of his more than 30-year tenure, is slated to administer the oaths of office in the upstairs courtroom of the historic Bulloch County Courthouse.
“We’ve got quite a list of them to be sworn in. …,” DeLoach said. “I do understand that the public’s invited, and there will be probably not a whole lot of room, so those who are going may want to get there early.”
Among the new officials raising their right hands will be Probate Judge-elect Lorna DeLoach. She is no blood kin to the man she succeeds in office, but he and her husband are third cousins. Even after the new officials are sworn in Thursday, their terms of office won’t begin until Jan. 1. So, when the Probate Court holds a scheduled hearing Friday morning, it won’t be the incoming Judge DeLoach but the outgoing one who presides.
In Thursday’s ceremony, he is also to swear in the Ogeechee Circuit’s new Superior Court Judge-elect Michael Muldrew, continuing Superior Court Judge F. Gates Peed and continuing District Attorney Richard Mallard.
The circuit’s other continuing Superior Court official, Chief Judge William E. Woodrum Jr., will take the oath for a new term in his home county, Jenkins. All three Superior Court judges serve the entire four-county circuit.
Besides Muldrew and Lorna DeLoach, the officials being newly installed are Bulloch County State Court Solicitor-elect Joseph Cushner, Sheriff-elect Noel Brown, Commissioners Chairman-elect Roy Thompson, Seat 2-A Commissioner-elect Curt Deal, Seat 2-C Commissioner-elect Jappy Stringer, Board of Education District 3 Member-elect Stuart Tedders and District 7 Member-elect Heather Mims.
Incumbent county officials beginning new terms after re-election are State Court Judge Gary L. Mikell, Magistrate Court Judge June Braswell, Clerk of Court Heather B. McNeal, Tax Commissioner James Deal, Seat 1-A Commissioner Ray Mosley, Coroner Jake Futch, County Surveyor John Dotson, District 8 Board of Education Member Maurice Hill and District 1 Board of Education Member Cheri Wagner.
Designated county staff members will lead an invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance as part of the ceremony. A reception will be held afterward, across the side street in the jury assembly room of the Judicial Annex.
The Statesboro Herald will publish a special section Friday featuring the eight local elected officials who retired this year. There are nine new office-holders but only eight retirees, since Thompson stepped up from a district seat to run for the commission chair.
Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.