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County officials to be sworn in Wednesday, sheriff's recount court case postponed
CORRECTION APPENDED: An earlier version of this article provided an incorrect date of Nov. 11 when John C. Brackman concurred with a request by former Sheriff J.T. Roberts to remove himself from the case. The correct date is Dec. 11.

WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (Dec. 30, 2008) — Pulaski County Commissioners have set 9 a.m. Wednesday as the date for a formal swearing-in ceremony of newly elected or re-elected county officials.

The ceremony in the courthouse lobby will include Pulaski County Sheriff J.B. King, even though former Sheriff J.T. Roberts is challenging King’s narrow margin of victory and the way in which the election was conducted. Roberts filed court papers seeking not only a hand-done recount of the Nov. 4 race that he lost by 38 votes to the current sheriff, J.B. King, but also an entirely new election that would set aside the results of the Nov. 4 race.

A visiting circuit judge, John C. Brackman, had been expected to hear Roberts’ case on Dec. 18, after all local judges decided they couldn’t hear the case due to conflicts of interest. However, Roberts’ lawyers filed paperwork seeking the replacement of Brackman and requesting the appointment of a different judge; Brackman decided on Dec. 11 to withdraw from the case, and Pulaski County received formal notice on Dec. 22 that Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Laura Denvir Smith had assigned Circuit Judge William R. Hass as a senior judge to hear the case.

No trial date had yet been set, according to court records, and it’s not clear when Roberts’ court case will be heard.

In addition to King, Wednesday’s ceremony will swear in new Western District County Commissioner Ricky Zweerink, R-Crocker; re-elected Eastern District County Commissioner Bill Farnham, R-Waynesville, Public Administrator Loretta Rouse, R-Waynesville, and County Coroner Mikel Hartness, D-Waynesville; as well as John Mackey, D-Waynesville, who had served many decades as the county’s surveyor until he was defeated in 2004 by Don Mayhew, R-Crocker, and this November defeated Mayhew in his bid for re-election.

While he was also re-elected in the November general election after defeating his challenger, County Assessor Roger Harrison, D-Laquey, won’t be sworn in until Sept. 1. Because changing their offices at the end of the calendar year would disrupt the county’s tax assessment and collection procedures, the county collector and county assessor are elected in November and don’t take office until later in the year. Incumbent County Collector Terri Mitchell won’t be up for re-election until 2010.

Rouse and Hartness ran unopposed for re-election to their offices. Farnham is returning for his second four-year term in the eastern district, after defeating Earl Arnold, D-Waynesville, in November. Harrison is returning for another term after defeating Ed Warden, R-St. Robert.

Click here for a copy of Roberts' court petition

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