County officials sworn in Tuesday
New Year’s Day heralded the beginning of a new career for some elected officials and the continuation for others. Tuesday, Orange County commissioners, constables and the sheriff given the nod in the general election were sworn in at the 128th District Courtroom in a short ceremony at 10 a.m.
David Dubose retained his position as Precinct 1 Commissioner defeating James Stringer 4,212 to 3,287 in November.
Dubose told The Record, “Commissioners court has a very challenging year coming up. We had some numbers that I wasn’t familar with, that I thought were going to be correct numbers and they were not, so we came in, having to borrow money to go into this year. In court Monday, we paid back $3 million of the $6 million we borrowed. We’re going to tighten the belts and run a real tight ship for the rest of the year and the county is going to be in great shape.”
What was running through his mind as he was being sworn in? “How proud I am to be an American and be a citizen of Orange County. When you look out there and see those people that showed up and my friend that showed up, in spite of the bad weather, you know they expect a good job.”
Chris Humble will continue on as Precinct 1 constable. Humble defeated Sarah Jefferson-Simon 4,540 to 2,974. He was sworn in by Tommy Gunn.
David Cagle was sworn in by Justice of the Peace Precinct 2 Derry Dunn. Cagle defeated Lynn Arceneaux for Constable of Precinct 2 with 4,992 votes to Arceneaux’s 2,786. Cagle replaces Rob Strause, who resigned his position.
“I’m really excited to be taking over and finally getting to work,” said Cagle. “I look forward to working with Judge Dunn and helping him in his court; serving papers. I’m looking forward to working close with the school district to try and ensure our young children have a safe place to go to school; and serving the citizens of Precinct 2 to the best of my ability.
Cagle said there were thousands of things going through his mind as he was sworn in. “Things that I want to do. Things that I need to do. I was just trying to think of where I was going to start; trying to get organized, so we can get things done the most efficiently as possible. I’ve got a lot of bookkeeping things to do and things like that. I’ve got to get that out of the way.
All others were sworn in by Justice of the Peace Precinct 2 David Peck.
One of the new kids on the block is John Banken, the new commissioner for Precinct 3, who defeated three term Commissioner John Dubose, 4,389 votes to 3,287.
Other officials sworn in Tuesday were: Keith Merritt – Sheriff; Mark Philpott – Constable Pct.3; and Weldon Peveto – Constable Pct. 4.
Other reelected county officials not sworn in Tuesday were: Troy Johnson – Judge County Court of Law No. 2; John Kimbrough – County Attorney; Lynda Gunstream – County Tax Assessor Collector; Courtney Burch-Arkeen – District Judge 128th District Court; Dennis Powell – District Judge 163rd District Court; Hollis Horton – 9th Court of Appeals District 4; David Gaultney – 9th Court of Appeals District 3;
Mandy White-Rogers has already been on the job a couple of weeks since Judge Pat Clark retired before the expiration of his term.
She was officially sworn in as judge of County Court at Law on Nov. 19 and had a public swearing in ceremony later. White-Rogers won the election by a wide margin; defeating Mike Abbott 21,610 votes to 8,454. White-Rogers said she has really enjoyed the new job and has stayed busy.
“It’s been great! It’s been a very busy December even though we’ve been off part of the month,” said White-Rogers. “The county clerk was complaining that the County Courts at Law were keeping them too busy for Christmas, because usually during Christmas, court houses aren’t very busy. Even law firms, my whole career, it’s just a down time for everybody, but there’s plenty of work to do and we’ve just stayed busy.” She said the county clerk said it was her own fault, because she had let too many people off for the holiday. “It’s a lot of fun. I’m learning a lot; there’s more I’m going to need to learn. It’s been nice seeing the other side of the desk. People are very friendly. I’ve enjoyed it. I feel I have a lot to learn.”
She said some of the job was a little surprising to her. “I do probate. There is a whole, whole lot of probate, which I never knew. I didn’t represent people in probate. There’s a whole lot more probate matters than I thought. They’re easy, there is just a whole lot of them. There is a lot of busy work, something you don’t even have to go to court on. The files you have to go through, like for default judgements, it doesn’t require a hearing, but you still have to read and make a rulling. I didn’t realize how much of that there was,” said White-Rogers. “It’s not been overwhelming, but it has been steady. I knew we would be busy and I expect it to get worse.
I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been a new adventure. My goal is to treat people the way I would want to be treated, within the confines of the law.”
Her advice to other “newbie” officials: “We represent the citizens of Orange County. They elected us. We need to, everyday, do our best to benefit our county and the people that elected us.”
White-Rogers is scheduled to swear in her former boss, District Attorney John Kimbrough Wednesday morning.