Newly elected Manatee County commission members take oath of office

skennedy@bradenton.comNovember 21, 2012 

MANATEE -- It was a jovial group Tuesday at the official swearing-in ceremony of two new Manatee County commissioners and two newly re-elected ones.

Friends and relatives joined two new commissioners, Vanessa Baugh and Betsy Benac, and two re-elected ones, Commission Chair John Chappie and Commissioner Larry Bustle, for the swearing-in.

Benac said she was "ready to work," and Baugh said, "This is wonderful, we're going to get a lot done."

Among those in the audience were Bustle's wife, Edie; Chappie's brother, Joe; Manatee School District board member Julie Aranibar, as well as a few county managers and employees.

The board plans to elect officers during its next meeting on Nov. 27, but specified that its decision would not take effect until Jan. 1.

The swearing-in ceremony was supervised by County Attorney Mickey Palmer, who said its timing was dictated by law.

The law says commissioners are to be sworn in on the second Tuesday following the general election, but since no commission meeting was scheduled for that day, Palmer oversaw an official swearing-in that will be followed by a ceremonial one during the commission meeting next week.

Baugh's husband, Don, helped her move into the former office of Donna Hayes, who did not run for re-election. Benac replaced former Commissioner Joe McClash, whom she defeated during the election.

Each of those being sworn in had to make out a $10 check for a "commission fee" that will go to the state, said Palmer.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.com.

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