County Commissioners Sworn In; New Officers Named

County Commissioners Sworn In; New Officers Named
Worcester County Clerk of Court Susan Braniecki is pictured administering the oath of office to the new county commissioners this week. Submitted Photo

SNOW HILL – Two new faces are on the dais in Snow Hill now that the Worcester County Commissioners have been sworn in to four-year terms.

On Tuesday, newcomers Caryn Abbott and Eric Fiori joined Chip Bertino, Jim Bunting, Ted Elder, Diana Purnell and Joe Mitrecic as county commissioners.

“We have a lot of work in front of us,” Mitrecic said. “This next year is not going to be easy.”

The commissioners were sworn in at the start of Tuesday’s commissioners meeting. Each took the opportunity to offer comments in front of a crowd made up of their family members and county staff.

Abbott, who defeated Josh Nordstrom in last month’s election, thanked supporters.

“I want to tell the voters, the people I spoke to, the 3,500 doors I knocked on, I will take with me everything you told me,” she said. “I have not forgotten those conversations. I’m here to serve you the people.”

Bertino thanked his family and expressed gratitude to the voters and their continued trust in him as he launched a third term in Snow Hill. Bunting, who has been serving since 2010, also thanked his family as well as citizens.

“I want to thank the voters in District 6 for having faith in me,” he said.

Elder, who won his reelection by just six votes, joked about his “landslide” victory.

“I’m looking forward to getting down and rolling my sleeves up and getting to work,” he said, adding that the county staff played a key role in ensuring government ran smoothly.

Purnell echoed much of what her peers said.

“I thank all the members of the community because you elected me to do a job – to serve the entire county, not just my district,” she said. “I’ve tried to diligently do that for the last eight years and I plan to still do it this time around as well.”

Fiori said this was his first experience as a politician and that he was humbled to have been given the chance to serve.

“I look really forward to making a difference here in the county,” he said. “That’s why I’m doing this.”

Mitrecic, who spent the last three years as president of the board, also thanked his supporters.

“I’ve been very fortunate to serve as president for the last three years, an honor I never took lightly. I treated everybody as fairly and equally as possible,” he said, adding that he hoped the next president would do the same.

The commissioners went on to vote 7-0 to have Bunting serve as vice president. They followed that up with a 6-1 vote, with Mitrecic opposed, to have Bertino serve as president. Bertino noted that the pandemic had made the last three years difficult, but that Mitrecic had provided strong leadership.

“We worked relentlessly to keep local businesses open in the face of often conflicting state and federal mandates,” he said. “Worcester County government remained open… This body, with just a couple exceptions, continued to conduct business in person as normally as possible. On top of these challenges, county government experienced a high level of transition in key management positions. It hasn’t been easy these past three years. Our county and this government were well served during this time by Commissioner Joe Mitrecic as president. Joe, thank you very much for your service.”

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.