published Saturday, August 30th, 2014

New Hamilton County officials to take oaths of office

IF YOU GO

What: Swearing-in ceremony for Hamilton County officials

Where: Chattanooga Convention Center

When: 9 a.m. Tuesday

The elections are over, along with the campaign hijinks and hurly-burly politics. Now it's time for our host of newly elected and re-elected officials to get serious.

On Tuesday, the winners of the Aug. 7 Hamilton County elections will file into the Chattanooga Convention Center, ready to swear solemn oaths to uphold the state and federal constitutions and to do their best in the positions voters have entrusted to them.

The ceremony will begin at 9 a.m., and the public is invited -- encouraged -- to come.

Not every official will take the same oath. Each office has its own specific pledge, according to Hamilton County spokesman Mike Dunne.

This is not new for County Clerk Bill Knowles: It will be his 11th swearing-in ceremony.

"I'm thankful for the opportunity. I remember very well taking the oath in 1974, and I was excited and challenged. That's a very busy office and I went in there and tried to make a difference. And I have," Knowles said.

The county clerk is responsible for keeping many of the county's official records, from County Commission minutes to marriage licenses and vehicle registrations.

During his tenure, Knowles started the county's first mail-in tag renewal service. And he started the first Internet renewal service in the state.

"It's been a challenge and I've tried to be a good steward and custodian of that office," he said.

For Randy Fairbanks, who will be the new District 1 representative on the Hamilton County Commission, the swearing-in will be a first.

"Of course, I'm a little excited. I've been working pretty hard the last couple of weeks to get caught up, going to the meetings, so I can hit the ground running," Fairbanks said.

He's also been traveling the district and meeting with community and school leaders, he said.

"I'm ready to get the preliminaries out of the way. I'm ready to serve," said Fairbanks.

He and Knowles will join nearly 40 other commissioners, school board members, judges and clerks Tuesday for the ceremony.

Contact staff writer Louie Brogdon at lbrogdon@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6481.

about Louie Brogdon...

Louie Brogdon began reporting with the Chattanooga Times Free Press in February 2013. Before he came to the Scenic City, Louie lived on St. Simons Island, Ga. and covered crime, courts, environment and government at the Brunswick News, a 17,000-circulation daily on the Georgia coast. While there, he was awarded for investigative reporting on police discipline and other law enforcement issues by the Georgia Press Association. For the Times Free Press, Louie covers Hamilton County ...

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