NEWLY ELECTED COMMISSIONERS SWORN IN

January 03, 2001 12:00 am

GOLD BEACH Curry County Assessor Jim Kolen got the shock of his life Tuesday morning when he was nearly sworn in as a new county commissioner.

Luckily, he caught the gaff of presiding Circuit Court Judge Hugh Downer and swore to carry out the duties of county assessor for his fourth term.

My heart sank when I heard I was being sworn in as a commissioner, said Kolen. It was like the first bad dream of the new year.

When Downer realized hed substituted the word commissioner for assessor in the oath of office, he laughed as hard as Kolen.

Downer could be pardoned, because hed just sworn in Lucie La Bont as commissioner No. 3 and Marlyn Schafer as commissioner No. 2.

La Bont was first up, and unsure of the procedure. Downer told her to raise her right hand and repeat the oath after him.

Its just like getting married, he said. Except were not.

Downer also swore in County Clerk Rene Kolen for her third term, and District Attorney Charles Steak for his first.

Downer told the audience that nearly filled the main courtroom that it was a pleasure for him to swear in people who were willing to participate in the system.

He said hes always liked the bumper sticker of Commissioner Cheryl Thorp that says, Democracy is not a spectator sport.

He said the election system had worked well in Curry County in the November election, but that cost him any chance of a national Judge Downer Show on television.

After the oaths of office were administered, the new officials were given a chance to speak.

Schafer said, Im truly excited and happy about going into the position.

She said she is a hard worker and a team player. She said she had already talked with many county employees and said they would form a real team.

La Bont said the new board would build on what past commissioners had done, but would also make some changes.

She said shed enjoyed working with Schafer and Thorp in the past few weeks, as well as with the department heads and employees.