Photo: New DeSoto County Sheriff Thomas Tuggle is sworn into his new position by Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Robert “Bobby” Chamberlin on Friday, Dec. 29 in Hernando. (Bob Bakken/desotocountynews.com)
The time for ceremony and celebration is over. Now it is time to get to work, or as Senior Chancery Judge Percy Lynchard said Friday evening to the elected officials at the County Courthouse, “Today you have been sworn into office. Tomorrow you will likely be sworn at.”
The main courtroom of the Courthouse was filled as those officials at the county level elected, either through winning the August primary election or the November general election, were sworn into office.
Lynchard, in his remarks at the beginning of the ceremony program, reminded the officials moving into a new term of office that those they will serve are, by and large, conservative, and they expect integrity and honesty from their officials.
With that, 14 new officeholders stepped forward with their families to pledge to properly administer the duties of their office and to abide and defend the U.S. and Mississippi constitutions.
For most, it was a repeat appearance as a vast majority of the candidates were reelected to their posts. However, there were some newcomers, including new District 2 Justice Court Judge Ben Murphy and new District 5 Supervisor Robert Foster.
The other newcomer to county government came on the law enforcement side, as new Sheriff Thomas Tuggle was sworn into his new position, beginning his term with the retirement of former Sheriff Bill Rasco. Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Robert “Bobby” Chamberlin of Hernando administered the oath of office to Tuggle, as Tuggle’s wife Linda and mother Zelma looked on.
After the ceremony, Tuggle said he has a game plan he wants to get initiated quickly.
“One of the things is that we’re going to go in and assess the strengths of the department,” Tuggle said. “Do we have the right people doing the right job, and if we don’t, we’re going to get those people in those jobs, in order to increase the level of proficiency that I’m expecting from all of the employees of the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department.”
The new sheriff had earlier announced who his new senior administrative team would be.
Among those in attendance Friday evening to see Tuggle and the other county officials take their oath of office was Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch.
As county offices are closed Jan. 1 for the New Year’s holiday, the elected officeholders’ first day of their terms will be the following day, on Tuesday, Jan. 2.
Following are the officeholders who took their oaths of office on Friday. Three of the five justice court judges were earlier sworn into office as they could not attend Friday due to prior commitments.
- Sheriff Thomas Tuggle
- Coroner Josh Pounders
- Justice Court Judges Ben Murphy (District 2) and Billy Lantrip (District 3)
- County Constables Lawrence Vaughn Jr. (District 1), Brad Hodge (District 2), and Bobby Holloway (District 4)
- Election Commissioners Tim Snyder (District 2) and David Ross (District 5)
- County Supervisors Jessie Medlin (District 1), Mark Gardner (District 2), Ray Denison (District 3), Lee Caldwell (District 4), and Robert Foster (District 5)