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Brunswick County elected officials sworn in to new terms

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By Brian Slattery

BOLIVIA—The 2012 elections may have been decided in early November, but elected officials didn’t reach their final destinations until they were sworn in Dec. 3 at the Brunswick County Commissioners’ meeting.

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The two new county commissioners, Frank Williams and Pat Sykes, and re-elected incumbent Scott Phillips, along with Register of Deeds Brenda Mercer Clemmons and Brunswick County Coroner Greg White took their oath of office.

The commissioners’ meeting room was packed as each elected official had family in the audience, which included seemingly every blood relative of cousins Clemmons and N.C. Sen. Bill Rabon. Each official brought family members to the front of the meeting room to stand with them while they were sworn in.

Phillips was sworn in for his second term on the county board by Rabon.

“Thank all of you for being here. I wish every first and third of the month was like this,” Phillips said.

North Carolina Supreme Court Associate Justice Mark Martin made a special trip to Brunswick County to administer the oath for Williams.

“It is a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to sit in this chair,” Williams said.  “Keep in mind, this chair belongs to you. The only reason we’re here is to serve the public.”

Williams thanked all the people who volunteered to help his campaign, his family and especially his dad, who encouraged him to get involved in politics.

“I’m excited; let’s get to work,” Williams said.

Sykes, and White, were sworn in by Deborah Gore, clerk to the county board.

“I want to thank everyone here tonight, voters, family and friends,” Sykes said. “I also want to thank everyone who ran for office—you have to be dedicated (to want to serve in public office.) “I want to thank my family and friends for their support, without it, I can’t do (this). I will do the best job I can.”

The first item the new board of commissioners voted on was the selection of a new chairperson.

Phillips nominated commissioner Phil Norris chairman; his nomination was approved unanimously.

Sykes nominated commissioner Marty Cooke for vice chair. He was also approved unanimously.

Cooke provided his colleagues with a commissioner survival kit to prepare them for the new term. It included:

A candle: “To light your way when the footing is unsure… and when you’re dealing with dim bulbs,” Cooke said.

BC headache powder: “For when your eyes hurt from looking over the agenda packet.”

Tums: “For when you realize you have bitten off more than you can chew…or when you’re experiencing too much hot air,” Cooke said.

Duct tape: “To fix the unfixable.”

And a pair of Groucho Marx glasses, with black horn-rimmed glasses with attached eyebrows, a large plastic nose and bushy moustache: ‘To slip out incognito,” Cooke said.

Norris thanked God for grace and mercy on his life, his family and all of Brunswick County who put their trust in him.

“I want to thank you for your trust in me to elect me as chairman,” Norris said.

“I am your servant.

Norris added that people have to let the board know of the issues that concern them.

“I don’t know how to fix a problem unless I know there is one,” he said.

Brian Slattery is a staff writer for The Brunswick Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or bslattery@brunswickbeacon.com.