Successful candidates in November’s municipal election, newcomers and incumbents, were sworn in on the morning of Jan. 2 in Courtroom No. 1 of the Lebanon Municipal Building.

Lebanon County judges administered the oaths of office to 13 elected officials and two newly-retained Common Pleas Court judges as friends and family – and in one case, an entire office staff – stood at their sides in the stately oak-paneled courtroom.

A reception in the Municipal Building’s jury assembly room followed the inaugural ceremonies.

Before beginning the oaths, President Judge John C. Tylwalk reminded the assembled officials that the word “inaugurate” means not just “to begin,” but “to invest with power and authority,” and that power exercised without responsibility is not authority.

Officials sworn in for four year terms were:

  • Incumbent County Commissioners Jo Ellen Litz (D), William E. Ames (R), and Robert J. Phillips (R)
  • Lebanon City Councilpersons Richard A. Wertz (R, incumbent), Amy S. Keller (D), and Christopher Miller (R)
  • Coroner Jeffrey A. Yocum, County Treasurer Sallie A. Neuin, Prothonotary/Clerk of Courts Barbara A. Smith, County Controller Robert M. Mettley, all Republican incumbents, and Recorder of Deeds Dawn M. Blauch, a newly-elected Republican.
Judge Jones administers the oath to incumbent City Councilman Richard A. Wertz as his wife, Carla, looks on.

Judge Tylwalk also swore in two of his incumbent colleagues, Judges Bradford H. Charles and Charles T. Jones, Jr., who won their retention elections for new 10 year terms, along with city Magisterial District Judge Maria Dissinger, who was also reelected.

Prothonotary / Clerk of Courts Smith added a twist to the usual scene of spouses and children standing beside officials as they raise their hands and swear. She invited her entire office staff, 12 in all, to stand with her. “We’re closed for the next hour,” she joked.

County row officers were treated to a brand new, very long, and rather detailed oath. Judge Charles drew chuckles when he apologized in advance for not having it memorized, saying “you’re going to see why in a few minutes.”

The new, long, detailed row officers’ oath.

This post was updated to include the swearing in of Magisterial District Judge Maria Dissinger, which was originally omitted. We are sorry for the error.

Chris Coyle writes primarily on government, the courts, and business. He retired as an attorney at the end of 2018, after concentrating for nearly four decades on civil and criminal litigation and trials. A career highlight was successfully defending a retired Pennsylvania state trooper who was accused,...


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