Most of the room in the first lower level of the Dane County Courthouse is full of observers and media.
The new year in Dane County government began Tuesday morning, when Circuit Court Judge Michael Nowakowski administered the oath of office to seven elected officials embarking upon their new terms. The star of the show was Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney, who was elected by a landslide last November. Mahoney was the third new official to take the oath of office before a large audience gathered in a meeting room in the Dane County Courthouse. Details about the ceremony follow.
Seven elected officials were sworn in Tuesday morning. Following remarks from County Executive Kathleen Falk, the three new officeholders gave their oaths individually before the four returning officials stood together for theirs. They follow below in order:
- Kristi Chlebowski (Register of Deeds)
- Carlo Esqueda (Clerk of Circuit Court)
- David Mahoney (Sheriff)
- Brian Blanchard (District Attorney), David Gawenda (Treasurer), Robert Ohlsen (County Clerk), and John Stanley (Coroner)
Mahoney was the third and final newly elected county officeholder to be sworn in by Judge Nowakowski. Here is a brief video clip of the ceremony:
Following the oath, Mahoney spoke briefly and in broad terms about his new job, thanking retiring sheriff Gary Hamblin for his service. He did mention one specific program, a new AODA (Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse)/Huber work-release facility for the county. Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and longtime alder Tim Bruer have opposed the proposed location of the facility on Madison's south side.
Though the ceremonies were perfunctory, the meeting room was packed, with broadcast media crowding around Mahoney during and after the proceedings. The brief New Year's party ended with some celebratory cake, which was cut, Nowakowski joked, with a plastic knife snuck through building security by returning treasurer Dave Gawenda.