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County officials accept duty to better area future

While state lawmakers were in the processof getting sworn in this past week, Lincoln County leaders weresettling into their duties for the next four years.

    For some office-holders, like Sheriff Steve Rushing, Tuesdayrepresented just another day on the job. And fellow returneesConstables Kelly Porter and Lavon Boyd, as well as Coroner ClayMcMorris, were also familiar with the first day of a new termdrill.

    In another area on the law enforcement side of things, new JusticeCourt Judges Joe Portrey and Chris King were getting acclimated totheir duties. With both coming from law enforcement backgrounds,the transition should go pretty smoothly.

    Around the Lincoln County Board of Supervisors’ table, three newmembers – District Two’s Jimmy Diamond, District Four’s Eddie Brownand District Five’s Dudley Nations – took their seats. They joinedreturnees, the Rev. Jerry L. Wilson of District One and Nolan EarlWilliamson of District Three.

    One of the first items on the supervisors’ agenda was electingofficers. Williamson was chosen to be the supervisors’ presidentwhile Brown, who previously served on the board, was voted vicepresident. They will have important roles to play in representingthe county during economic development and other communityimprovement discussions in the future.

    Also in the boardroom was returning Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop.The only difference at the start of the new term was he now isserving as the only countywide Republican elected official.

    For a few other parts of the government complex, the first week ofthe new term brought some personnel changes.

    Lincoln County Circuit Clerk Terry Lynn Watkins, facing a Mondaytrial on embezzlement charges, unexpectedly resigned Fridayafternoon and pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge.

    Supervisors appointed longtime Deputy Circuit Clerk Sherry Jordanas interim circuit clerk. A special election was expected to bescheduled for November to fill the remainder of Watkins’ term.

    Earlier the week, new Tax Assessor/Collector Rita Goss generatedsome comments and controversy with her decision to release sevenemployees in the tax office last week. Public reaction to the newofficial’s decision has been mixed.

    Lincoln County voters last year opted for change in some areas andto stay the course in others. Now that they are in their positionsof power, elected officials – both new and returning – have theresponsibility to look out for citizens’ best interests and to setthe county’s course toward a better tomorrow.