A crowd of more than 500 people packed the Ceremonial Courtroom at the Schuylkill County Courthouse Thursday for the swearing in ceremony for 17 judicial and county officials, who were elected in last November's general election.
Their terms do not begin until Jan. 1, 2012 and since Monday is a holiday, their work schedule does not start until Tuesday, Jan. 2.
President Judge William E. Baldwin, surrounded by his associate judges, from the bench administered the oath of office to each elected official. Most brought their families to the podium to face the bench and hold the bible for them as they took their oath.
Re-elected Commissioner Frank Staudenmeier used a Bible which was first used by the late County Judge Charles Staudenmeier. Other used family bibles or the one provided by the court.
Re-elected Recorder of Deeds A. Matthe Dudish had his father, who is 101 years old, present at his side. Re-elected Clerk of Courts Stephen M. Lukach, Jr. whose family could not be present, had members of his staff around him when he took his oath. Newly elected Prothonotary David J. Dutcavich paid tribute to the man he is succeeding, P. J. Symons, for his 16 years of service.
First to take the oath were two members of the present county court – Judge Cyrus Palmer Dolbin and Judge Charles M. Miller – who were re-elected on a retention ballot. They were followed by former District Attorney James P. Goodman, who was elected to a 10 year term to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Judge D. Michael Stine who is now serving as a senior judge.
After his wife assisted him in donning his new robe, judge elect Goodman took his seat on the bench. Also taking the oath was newly elected attorney Christina E. Hale as District Justice of the magisterial district that covers the Frackville-Ashland area.
Her husband helped her with the robe and she took her seat with the other district justices seated in front of the judges bench. Also taking their oaths were three of the incumbent district judges who were re-elected on a retention ballot – James R. Ferrier (Orwigsburg area), District Judge James R. Reiley (Pottsville) and District Justice Stephen J. Bayer (Tamaqua area).
The county officials, who were seated with members of their family, each stepped up to the podium to take their oath of office accompanied by their families. They were:
County Commissioners Frank Staudenmeier, George Halcovage and Gary J. Hess; Controller Christy Joy, Treasurer Jackie McGovern, Clerk of Courts Stephen M. Lukach, Jr., Prothonotary David J. Dutcavich, Register of Wills Theresa Santai-Gaffney; Recorder of Deeds A. Matthew Dudish and Coroner Dr. David J. Moylan.
Judge Baldwin congratulated each and wished them a successful tenure and adjourned the court.