By Bill Robinson
Revelry may be on the minds of many on New Year’s Eve, but a more solemn spirit may prevail as four members of the Richmond City Commission are sworn in at a formal City Hall ceremony beginning at 5 p.m.
Two newcomers will be joining Mayor Jim Barnes and two incumbents in taking responsibility for city government for the next two years.
The event will begin with a welcome by the mayor, who will be marking the mid-point of his four-year term. The Rev. Marty Frazer, pastor of the Madison Hills Christian Church will offer an invocation, and then Marvin Bauer, Madison County Veterans Committee chair, will lead the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Each member of the commission, in alphabetical order, will separately take Kentucky’s unique oath of office that includes an affirmation of never being party to a duel with deadly weapons.
The oath will be administered by an official of each commissioner’s choosing. Each will then address the assembly.
The mayor will administer the oath to incumbent Donna Baird, who will begin her second two-year term.
State Rep. Rita Smart will swear in Robert Blythe, the commission’s longest-serving member.
Next, Madison Circuit Judge Jean Chenault Logue, will administer the oath to newcomers Laura King and Jim Newby.
King, who married Charlie King in June, was on the ballot as Laura Morgan Durham for both the May primary and the November general election. She did not legally change her name until after the election, she said. Charlie King is retired from the city fire department and the Madison County EMS.
The ceremony will conclude with remarks by the mayor, followed by a reception.
Barnes said the program should be brief but will be an opportunity for the commissioners to jointly meet the public as they vow to work on behalf of the city.
“I think we accomplished a lot in the past two years,” the mayor said, “but we still have work to do to get the city on a solid foundation and working more efficiently.”
Although the city will face several challenges in the next two years, Barnes said he hopes the new commission also will keep long-term issues in mind as they begin their work.
He cited the city’s storm water problems as an example of an issue that must be addressed immediately, but will take many years to resolve.
Bill Robinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 624-6690.