Summit County officials who won their elections in November have been sworn into office
Summit County government kicked off its new year Tuesday morning with the swearing-in of newly elected and re-elected county officials at the old Breckenridge courthouse.
County Commissioner Dan Gibbs, Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons, Coroner Regan Wood, Clerk and Recorder Kathy Neel and Surveyor Gary Wilkinson were all sworn in for a new term after being re-elected in November, while Treasurer Ryne Scholl and Assessor Franklin Celico assumed their offices for the first time. Deputy treasurer Nereyda Blanco was also sworn in, although her position is not an elected one.
Judge Mark Thompson, chief judge for the Fifth Judicial District, conducted the oaths of office. Before he began, Thompson asked the capacity crowd filling the 110-year-old courtroom to pause and reflect on the moment and how it represented the core values of the republic.
“This is the embodiment of democracy,” Thompson told Summit citizens seated and standing. “This is where the rubber meets the road for our government. We go to the ballot box, cast our vote, elect our officials, and I have the privilege to swear them in. We should reflect on this moment, and what it means to be an American, to have that great power and that vote.”
Gibbs said he was committed to working on issues Summit voters care the most about during his third term as commissioner.
“We still need to work on workforce housing and protecting the environment, those are the two priorities we need to move forward with and continue to work on,” Gibbs said.
Newly minted as the county treasurer and public trustee, Scholl said streamlining the office was his priority.
“We’ll be working to create more efficiency in the office, and provide the public with new opportunities for service with technology,” Scholl said, adding that he will be leading an initiative to get the office to go paperless.
FitzSimons, who handily won the bitter sheriff’s race in November, said that mental health would continue to be his office’s top priority along with other safety issues that have concerned the community for the past few years.
“We’re going to also continue focusing on safety in our schools, as well as the opioid crisis; we’ve barely scratched the surface on that over the past few years,” FitzSimons said. “We’ll also be looking to improve wildfire safety, which is also something our office handles.”
Neel, who oversaw the county’s busiest midterm election ever, said she expects the next election to be busier, and will look to make sure her office will be ready for the next vote.
“We expect the next round of elections to be even crazier,” Neel said. “We always try to improve, and every year we get a little bit better.”
Celico, who takes on the mantle set down by former Assessor Beverly Breakstone, said that he has considered Breakstone’s ambitious idea of changing property tax status for owners of multiple short-term rental properties from residential to commercial. However, he believes a state law change would need to be made before any such tactic can be attempted.
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