SNOW HILL – The Worcester County Commissioners expressed appreciation to their supporters as they were sworn in this week.
The commissioners took the oath of office on Tuesday before unanimously re-electing Commissioner Diana Purnell to serve as their president.
“I make a motion to allow Commissioner Purnell to finish out her term as president and serve another year to make it two years,” said Commissioner Joe Mitrecic, who subsequently was selected to serve as the board’s vice president.
The election of officers came after each of the commissioners thanked their constituents for returning them to the dais.
“I just want to say thank you,” Commissioner Bud Church said. “Most of you know this is my fifth term … it’s as exciting for the fifth term as it is for the first term.”
Mitrecic commented on the array of people in attendance.
“It would be great if I looked out here at every other meeting and saw this many people sitting out there interested in our regular meetings…,” he said. “I’d just like to thank everybody in Ocean City that voted for me. I had the fortune of being unopposed this time as with last time. I guess that says I’m either doing a great job or nobody else is dumb enough to do the job.”
Commissioner Ted Elder thanked his family and his supporters as well as county staff.
“I’ve really gotten to know a lot of the staff here a lot better and gotten to appreciate them more over the last four years,” he said. “They really do a tremendous job.”
Elder added that he planned to work even harder during his second term and that he was always accessible to his constituents.
“I always return my phone calls,” he said.
Commissioner Jim Bunting offered a similar commitment to the people he represents.
“It is a privilege to be a county commissioner,” he said. “I’m going to treat it always as a privilege.”
Commissioner Chip Bertino, who represents Ocean Pines, also expressed gratitude.
“Four years ago I stood up here as a first time commissioner and I thanked the people of Ocean Pines,” he said. “It’s very humbling to be elected by your community.”
He recognized several county employees and audience members, including newly sworn-in Sheriff Matt Crisafulli.
“If you see me speeding on 113 I do hope that you’ll turn the other way,” Bertino joked.
Commissioner Josh Nordstrom, the only new member of the board, said he was thrilled to have the chance to represent Pocomoke. He said he spent months knocking on doors introducing himself to residents.
“I want to thank all the people of District 1 who answered their doors and took the time to talk to me…,” he said. “I worked very hard to get here. You better believe the next four years I’m going to work even harder to make Worcester County the best it can be and do everything I promised for the people of District 1.”
Purnell, the last to speak, acknowledged the county’s hardworking employees and said she looked forward to working with her fellow commissioners. She said they were family and were all doing their best for the county.
“Sometimes we have a come to Jesus meeting, sometimes we don’t,” she said. “That’s okay. That’s what it’s all about.”
She praised the county for hiring so many women. She offered to Nordstrom advice once given to her by former commissioner James Purnell.
“Keep your head down and your fingers up so you can see which way the wind’s blowing,” she said.
She thanked citizens for their support and said they could do one more thing for the commissioners.
“The one thing we need more than anything, we need your prayers,” she said. “I don’t say that lightly.”