Dozens gathered in the historic courtroom in Independence Monday to witness three new public servants being sworn into office.
According to those in attendance, the courtroom was overflowing with family, friends and supporters, as well as many county officials and administrators, to watch as Jeff Griffiths of Bishop, Mark Tillemans of Big Pine and Matt Kingsley of Lone Pine took oaths of office administered by Superior Court Judge Dean Stout.
Standing together, the trio went from Inyo County supervisors-elect to the official representatives of their respective districts.
Stout began Monday’s proceedings by welcoming everyone and introducing many of the dignitaries in the room. He offered a few words on the importance of the day for the new supervisors and for the citizens of Inyo County. He told them to always use their best judgment, to always do what they believed to be in the best interests of the people they represent and to be prepared to accept criticism, for that also comes with the job.
After offering a quote from Theodore Roosevelt on leadership, Stout then asked the three men to stand to take the oath of office.
The occasion marked the culmination of a long journey for each man – journeys that began as early as 2011 with announcements of intentions to run for the Inyo County Board of Supervisors.
Griffiths threw his hat in the ring for the seat of District 2 Supervisor, held by two-term incumbent Susan Cash. Cash sought re-election against both Griffiths and Russ Aldridge. With more than 50 percent of the vote, Griffiths won the election – and the seat – in the June 2012 Primary, continuing to serve in his capacity as a member of the Bishop City Council until resigning at the Dec. 10, 2012 council meeting.
Tillemans ran for the post of District 4 Inyo County Supervisor in what had started out as one of the county’s most hotly contested races. He and Aberdeen resident Marty Fortney, the incumbent running for a second term, defeated challengers Nina Weisman and Christopher Dangwillow, both of Independence, in the June Primary to advance to the November General Election. Tillemans won the Nov. 6 election by 10 votes.
Kingsley similarly unseated an incumbent – two-term Fifth District Supervisor Richard Cervantes – but in June with the help of fellow challenger Jim Gentry, also of Lone Pine. Gentry and Kingsley advanced to the November election where Kingsley prevailed.
The first day of official business for Kingsley, Tillemans and Griffiths came the following day, Jan. 8, with a meeting of the Board of Supervisors.