PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County Superior Court Judge Keith Harper administered the oath of office Monday afternoon to elected county officials in front of a standing-room only courtroom filled with families and friends.
Harper read the oath to all, who recited their names and oaths in unison.
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution and laws of the state of Washington, and all local ordinances, and that I will faithfully and impartially perform and discharge the duties of your office.”
Those taking the oath included District 3 county Commissioner Greg Brotherton, Sheriff Joe Nole, District 3 Public Utility District Commissioner Daniel Toepper, Prosecuting Attorney/Coroner James M. Kennedy, County Clerk Ruth Gordon, County Assessor Jeff Chapman, County Auditor Rose Ann Carroll and County Treasurer Stacie Prada.
Mindy Walker was sworn in separately to fill a time gap in District Court Judge Jill Landes’ seat. Landes’ resignation effective Monday at noon so Walker was appointed to fill the seat until her tenure begins Jan. 14.
The Jefferson County commissioners held a special meeting to appoint Walker through Jan. 13.
Commissioners David Sullivan and Kate Dean were out of town and called in, while Commissioner Kathleen Kler was present. This was Kler’s last official action. It was a unanimous vote.
State Supreme Court Justice Sheryl Gordon McCloud swore in Walker during a private ceremony last Thursday in Jefferson County Superior Court for her four-year term. Landes was present, as was Harper.
“I have really admired Justice McCloud’s work in social justice and her commitment to promoting constitutional rights and wanted her to do the ceremony,” Walker said.
Walker had no time to celebrate Monday’s appointment as she went immediately to work.
“My first calendar is at 1:15 p.m. and I put on the robes. It’s a criminal first appearance calendar. I’m ready.”
Harper also appointed Port Townsend Attorney Eileen Baratuci as Superior Court commissioner to fill the seat vacated by Micky Forbes, who is retiring.
Election Coordinator Betty Johnson explained the oath that was recited Monday had an addition and a deletion.
“It was changed in April 2018 to reflect the desire to add support of local ordinances,” she said.
This was the first local election that used the new language.
She said the template offered by the Municipal Research and Services Center was adopted.
The old oath said the officer holder “will support the Constitution and laws of the United States” and had no reference to local ordinances. “Laws” was deleted.
Johnson said it is the same oath that others in the state agree to uphold.
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected].