Johnson County Judge Roger Harmon swore three county officials in during Monday’s meeting of the Johnson County Commissioners Court and recognized three others who had already been sworn in at midnight.
Although family members and friends of several of the officials were present, the brief ceremony lacked the pomp and circumstance of previous swearing-in ceremonies out of precaution for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“I apologize that we’re not able to have the regular formal ceremony we usually have, but this is still a special day,” Harmon said.
Harmon first swore in Precinct 1 Commissioner Rick Bailey, who sought re-election unopposed in November’s election
“I look forward to four more years,” Bailey said. “It’s such a privilege and an honor and, I think a calling. I love what I do and love being in this county. And I just pray that 2021 is so much better than 2020.”
This marks Bailey’s fourth term in office.
Harmon next swore County Attorney Bill Moore in. Moore also ran unopposed in his re-election bid.
Harmon, after administering the oath of office, commended Moore on his years of service.
“I’ll never forget when I took office, Judge [C.C. “Kit” Cooke,] one of our retired district judges told me there are many laws we’re governed by and that we can be taken out of office because of it if you don’t follow those rules. But I want to say something about Bill Moore. When I first got elected he got so sick and tired of seeing my face.
“Every time he’d look up I was out in his lobby. Because of what Judge Cooke told me, I wanted to stay in the center of that road, didn’t want to get off on the edges. And so I was always going by Bill’s office saying, ‘Hey Bill, what do you think about this?’
“And he never led me astray. He’s as good as they come and I thank you Bill for what you do for our county. Bill is very dedicated to his job and our county runs better because of him.”
Moore first took office in 1993. Before that he served as assistant county attorney.
“I just appreciate the ability and the privilege to be able to serve the people of Johnson County,” Moore said. “I enjoy what I do. I get to work with all the other elected officials of the county and I appreciate that very much.”
Not finished yet, Harmon continued to praise Moore.
“Every now and then we’ll ask Bill to go speak at one of our conferences around the state,” Harmon said. “And all the comments I always get back from those conferences about Bill is, ‘Boy, we wish we had a county attorney in our county like that.’
“So you get compliments all over the state of Texas Bill and, again, thank you for what you do.”
Johnson County Tax Assessor/Collector Scott Porter also ran unopposed and now begins his fifth term in office.
“I’d just like to say it’s a privilege and an honor,” Porter said after his swearing in. “I’m blessed with some really good employees and I’m really thankful for the opportunity to continue to serve Johnson County.”
Bailey congratulated the remaining three, all of whom had been sworn in earlier, including newly elected Precinct 3 Commissioner Mike White.
“I congratulate you and look forward to serving with you as we all work together for the benefit of the county,” Bailey said.
White previously served as Precinct 3 constable. Former Precinct 3 Commissioner Jerry Stringer decided not to seek re-election last year clearing the way for two candidates to enter the race in which White defeated Democratic challenger Chris Evans in November.
“I just want to first thank God first but secondly my family,” White said. “If you’ve never run for public office, you don’t do it by yourself. It’s your whole family. It involves them all. My son was out in the rain driving T-posts, putting signs in, pulling them up.
“And I appreciate the citizens who voted for me and I’m looking forward to working with [fellow commissioners] over the next four years and trying to do good for the county.”
Newly elected Steve Williams now takes White’s place as Precinct 3 constable.
“I want to give thanks to God for getting me elected,” Williams said. “Second to my wife and third to the people of Precinct 3. It’s a very humbling thing to experience, being elected and I just hope I can do Precinct 3 as well as the outgoing constable now commissioner, Mike White.”
Troy Fuller, formerly of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, defeated incumbent Tim Kinman in November to become the new Precinct 4 constable.
“I’m proud as I can be to be the new constable,” Fuller said. “I’m thankful to the citizens, humbled to have this position and swear to always put my best foot forward and represent the county in the best way that I can.
“I’ve had a long standing relationship with the commissioners court and the sheriff’s office and I plan on continuing that and to help in any way I can.”
Harmon concluded by reminding officials newly elected and long standing that success requires teamwork.
“Johnson County, in my opinion, is a great county to live in,” Harmon said. “And I think all elected officials and department heads will agree with me that we operate as a team. As I said earlier, we go to these conferences around the state and hear some of the war stories about how other counties operate. Now, not that we don’t have our differences from time to time. We do. But we work through those differences and we go on down the road.
“In the end, we work for the citizens of this county. They’re the ones who put us in office and I pray that all elected officials from our local government all the way up to Washington, D.C., remember that.”