Raising their right hands, a number of local officials took the oath of office at an inauguration ceremony Dec. 31 in the Allen County Courthouse rotunda.
David Long of Fort Wayne, who recently retired as Indiana Senate president pro-tempore, delivered remarks at the ceremony.
“This day represents both the changing of the guard and the start of a new era as well. Some truly iconic leaders are stepping down today,” he said.
Long remarked on newly elected officials who were being sworn in for the first time, including Commissioner Richard E. Beck Jr., who succeeded Linda Bloom after she did not seek re-election in 2018.
“He’s a great guy. I don’t think anybody is better trained for this position than Rich. We couldn’t have picked a better person for the job, and I’m excited for him to take this position,” Long said.
Bloom, who became the first woman elected to the commission in 1994 and served six consecutive 4-year terms, did not attend the inauguration ceremony due to illness. Long acknowledged Bloom and other officials who were stepping down after decades of service, including retiring Allen Superior Court Judges John F. Surbeck Jr. and Stanley Levine.
Surbeck administered oaths of office to Allen County Prosecutor Karen E. Richards; Circuit Court Clerk Christopher M. Nancarrow; County Auditor Nicholas D. Jordan; County Recorder Anita A. Mather; Sheriff David J. Gladieux; County Assessor Stacey J. O’Day; Commissioners Therese M. Brown and Beck; and County Council members Sharon L. Tucker, Thomas A. Harris, Joel M. Benz, Larry L. Brown and Kyle Kerley. A number of township elected officials also participated in the ceremony.
Surbeck also swore in appointed successors to the Allen Superior Court including his successor Judge David Zent; Judge Jennifer DeGroote, successor to Levine; and Zent’s successor, Magistrate John Bohdan.
“What all these people being sworn in today or retiring from office have in common is they keep the wheels of local government running. They don’t make a lot of money, they certainly don’t get a lot of glory, but collectively, they make a meaningful and important impact on our lives every single day,” Long said.