STANTON — The 8th Judicial Circuit Courtroom was filled with a standing-room-only audience for a festive ceremony Thursday afternoon.
Judge Suzanne Hoseth Kreeger swore multiple Montcalm County officials into office, including newly elected Sheriff Mike Williams, who will succeed retiring Sheriff Bill Barnwell.
“This is certainly a momentous occasion with the sheriff, an exciting time,” Kreeger noted.
Williams called the ceremony “a surreal experience.” He was previously sworn in every four years of his career by the sheriff, but on Thursday he was sworn in by the judge as sheriff, standing next to fellow elected department heads.
Williams then swore in new Undersheriff Brian Waber, who was originally hired at the sheriff’s office in 1986. Waber was promoted to road patrol sergeant in 1996 and to road patrol lieutenant in 2013.
Williams also swore in other sheriff’s deputies, sergeants, lieutenants, corrections officers, posse members and one detective.
“The event that was the oddest for me was swearing in my fellow colleagues,” Williams said. “When your hand is raised and you’re reciting the oath of office, you can’t help but feel excitement and patriotism.”
Clerk Kristen Millard was sworn into her sixth elected term.
“In the 20 years I’ve served as clerk, I’ve seen many changes to the position and the duties,” Millard said. “Each and every day is a challenge, but a challenge I’m up for and I thrive on. I’m looking forward to updating our voting technology during this next term and the exploration and possible implementation of e-filing in the Circuit Court Clerk’s office.”
Prosecutor Andrea Krause was sworn into her fifth elected term.
“The swearing-in ceremony is always special and a reminder that those of us that are elected have been entrusted to represent the citizens of our county in our respective offices,” Krause said. “I look forward to the next four years and trying to keep our community a safe place for families to live.”
Drain Commissioner Sandy Raines were sworn into her second elected term, although she has worked in the drain officer for 38 years. In her new term, she hopes to update drain maps dating back to the early 1900s and assessment districts, and to continue working on drain maintenance.
“I’m very grateful to be re-elected,” Raines said. “I enjoy working with the residents of Montcalm County.
As the ceremony ended, officials, friends and family enjoyed visiting with each other and posing for photos in the courtroom.
“And now the work begins, correct?” Kreeger told county officials. “It certainly has been my privilege and pleasure to preside over this swearing-in ceremony.”