For Moffat County Clerk and Recorder Elaine Sullivan, Tuesday will be one she won’t soon forget.
And even though she has done it twice before, she doesn’t think the day’s activities will be any less moving.
Sullivan will join seven other elected officials at 1 p.m. Tuesday in Moffat County District Court to be sworn into their respective elected offices. The ceremony will be a completely new experience for some, and for others it will be one they have had the honor of participating in several times before.
County Judge Sandra Gardner will swear in the eight officials individually through a recited oath that will change depending on the person’s office. Those being sworn in include Audrey Danner and Tom Mathers to the Moffat County Commission; Lila Herod, clerk and recorder; Robert Razzano, assessor; Elaine Sullivan, treasurer; Kirk McKey, coroner; Tim Jantz, sheriff; and Peter Epp, surveyor.
“A number of years ago, I told the then elected officials that the people elected you by majority vote — they have reposed their trust in you to serve in your capacities,” Gardner said. “For me, as a judge, it is actually an honor … to have the opportunity to swear these people into their posts.”
Sullivan said each swearing in ceremony has been a mixture of emotions — from nervousness to patriotism.
“Every time I was thinking, ‘Oh my God,’” she said. “After you sit there and you listen to it, of course I am an emotional person anyway, I get a big lump in my throat and the last time I think I cried.”
The ceremony is also a chance to breath sign of relief before a flurry of new activity begins, Sullivan said.
“I just think it is a serious affirmation that you intend to do what people elected you to do,” she said. “When you have somebody standing in front of you, a judge, you are just kind of awestruck because in the big scheme of things, for a local government, that is about as good as it gets.”
After 30 years in the clerk and recorder’s office, this swearing in ceremony will mark a distinct change for Sullivan.
“I think the gravity that is hitting me right now is that I am completely changing my job — it is entirely different,” she said. “It is a little scary, but I am looking forward to it. The girls down there, I’m leaving it up to them to train me.”
Commissioner Tom Mathers, who has been sworn into office twice before, said the ceremony represents a reaffirmation to serve his constituents.
“It means you are going to swear to do what’s right for the community and to uphold the Constitution of the United States,” he said.
Mathers said he would savor this ceremony just a bit more considering it might be his last.
Each ceremony, however, had a distinct feeling for the three-term commissioner. The first, he said, “is like the final ‘Yes, you are a commissioner from this point forward.’”
“I guess (the second time) a feeling you might have would be, ‘This is great, my constituents think I have done a good enough job that they want me to stay for another four years,’ and that we are doing what’s right,” he said.
But, no matter the amount of times one might have been sworn into an elected position, Mathers said it is hard not to feel a renewed sense of patriotism.
“You do feel like you are a part of the system that everybody wants to fix or believes in,” he said. “This is America, and we are free and because of that I am in this position, and I am going to do what is right for the taxpayers. Yeah, you feel patriotic.”
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