Dawson County's newest elected officials pledged their allegiance to Dawson County and were sworn in Thursday morning at the Dawson County Government Center by Superior Court Judge C. Andrew Fuller.
The newly-elected and their friends, family members and future colleagues gathered at 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 22 to swear their unwavering service to the county.
"This is a very important day for each of you and a very important day for Dawson County because many of you who are here today are holding yourself out to represent the citizens of Dawson County, and you have been given that duty by the voting system that we all treasure," Fuller said during opening remarks. "I know you are excited to begin with the taking of the oaths today and are looking forward to your service in the future."
Fourteen officials were sworn in, four of whom are serving their first terms in their elected offices.
Incoming Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond, who is replacing Mike Berg, chose to recite his entire oath before the gathered audience.
"I, Billy Thurmond, do swear and affirm that I will well and truly discharge the duties of commissioner for Dawson County in all matters which require my official action to the best of my knowledge and skill and I will so act in my judgment as will be most conducive to the welfare and best interest of the entire county," Thurmond said.
Thurmond is beginning his first term as an elected county official.
Chris Gaines is joining Thurmond on the Board of Commissioners as District 2 commissioner following James Swafford, whose second term ends on Dec. 31.
Gaines was previously a member of the Dawsonville City Council, but has not held office with the county. He attended the ceremony with his wife Jessica.
"I'm excited to be a part of Dawson County government and to be able to serve in this capacity," Gaines said after he was sworn in. "I'm excited for the next four years."
Jeff Johnson, who is succeeding Billy Carlisle as Dawson County's sheriff, brought his own Bible to the ceremony. His wife Lisa held the Bible for him as he was sworn in.
"Sheriff Carlisle laid a good foundation for us, and we're excited to build upon it," Johnson said after the ceremony.
Johnson has not previously held any elected offices.
Incoming Tax Commissioner Nicole Stewart said she was honored to be able to serve the county. Stewart is succeeding Linda Townley, who was the tax commissioner for the past 12 years.
Her parents and sister attended the swearing-in. This is Stewart's first county government role.
Each of the new officials were elected to four-year terms that begin on Jan. 1.
Those who were re-elected to their positions and sworn in include District 4 Commissioner Julie Hughes Nix, Chief Magistrate Judge Lisa A. Thurmond, Coroner Ted Bearden, Clerk of Superior Court Justin Power, Probate Judge Jennifer Evans Burt, Board of Education members Doris Cook, Elaine Wilson and Roger D. Slaton.
Surveyor Donald Rex Jones, who was not in attendance, will be sworn in later.
Clint Bearden, who was appointed associate magistrate judge, was also sworn in.