Those leaving the board were Commissioners Jim Harrell Jr., Craig Hunter, and Bill Hamlin. Each of the men received plaques, certificates, and gavels. They were recognized by the board, the Register of Deeds Office, and local political parties.
After the recognitions, the new commissioners were sworn into office. Garry Scearce, Buck Golding, and Eddie Harris join Paul Johnson and Jimmy Miller on the board.
The first action of the new board was to re-elect Paul Johnson to the position of board chairman. Buck Golding was selected to serve as vice chair. Both votes were unanimous.
Prior to the seating of the new board, the 2010 board approved minutes from previous meetings, and Hunter brought up two items for approval. He said that the county had been in error when it said that the Surry Community College gym was the only school gym in the county not air-conditioned. Mount Airy Middle School is also not air-conditioned, so the board voted to use sales tax proceeds to pay for the air conditioning, up to $100,000. Hunter did point out that most of the elementary schools do not have air-conditioning systems yet. He said that was a task for the next board. Hunter also said he found out the North Surry High School gym has old bleachers that are not compliant with the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The commissioners approved new bleachers for the gym using sales tax funds, up to $150,000.
The out-going commissioners were then recognized, and the commissioners from the 2010 board each gave remarks.
Harrell, who served on the board for 20 years, said, “I love this county and its people.”
He thanked the county staff and the citizens. To the new board he said, “I would like to wish the new commissioners luck ... Congratulations.”
Hunter served on the board from 2002 to 2010. On Monday Hunter drew laughs and tears from the crowd as he gave closing remarks. Hunter said of the board and of the county, “My grandfather used to tell me, ‘Give it back better than when you got it.’ And I think we’re giving it back better.”
He had advice for the new commissioners: “The integrity of this board is most important. Do what’s right. I know you can. Put the integrity of this office above all else, above your own integrity, above party politics.”
Hamlin served one term on the board. He told the board, “Thank you guys for serving with me and for allowing me to serve.”
Hamlin said, “I’m proud of my four years. They’ve gone by really fast. I’ve learned a lot.”
Johnson complimented the out-going commissioners by saying they had always done what they thought was best for the county and its citizens.
Miller said, “It’s been a real privilege to serve with them.”
The new commissioners were then sworn in by Angela Puckett, district court judge. After selecting a chair and vice chair for the board, the commissioners recessed the meeting. A reception was then held in honor of the commissioners. The food was catered by Randy Brown, and the reception was open to the public.
Each of the new commissioners gave brief remarks before refreshments were served. Scearce promised to do what he had said during his campaign for office, and Harris said he would never forget the taxpayers. Golding said, “We will do a good job, I promise you.”
The meeting was recessed until 8 a.m. on Dec. 17, when the board will gather for a retreat. The commissioners will meet with every department head at the day-long meeting. The retreat will be held in Room 335 at the government center, and it is open to the public.
Contact Meghann Evans at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1952.