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At an evening ceremony lasting about 30 minutes, the City of Salem’s newly elected officials were sworn in by Washington County Circuit Judge Larry Medlock and outgoing Mayor Troy Merry.

Merry swore in Mayor-Elect Justin Green telling him “there’s no better person that I would rather see take my office than Justin Green as Mayor. I know it’s going to be in good hands.”

Washington County Circuit Judge Larry Medlock watches as Salem Mayor Troy Merry swears in Mayor-Elect Justin Green.

Washington County Clerk Stephanie Rockey assisted with the paperwork to certify each officeholder.

“I’d like to thank everyone for attending the City of Salem swearing-in ceremony,” Rockey said. “It’s an honor to process the election and I know everyone has put in a lot of hard work. Please take pride in that piece of paper…it means so much. Everyone works together and gets along.”

Medlock swore in the council members in one group – Dan Libka, Jody Smedley, Gail Napier, Rick Stewart, and Steve Crane. 

“A few weeks ago, we had a city election,” Medlock said. “The people of the City of Salem made their decision. They have bestowed upon those that have been elected – a sacred trust. They have trusted you with their future, with their children’s future, their grandchildren’s future and the future of this city. Today we’re going to witness the peaceful transition of government. There’s a lot of countries in which the peaceful transition of government doesn’t occur. it’s done by force, by violence, by guns, by secret ballots, treachery…But we have the honor of living in a country that recognizes our form of government and holds it dear and sacred. It’s always an honor to swear in those individuals who have been elected by the people.”

Medlock then swore in Clerk-Treasurer Sally Hattabaugh for her second term. 

Mayor-Elect Justin Green was sworn in by Merry who first spoke to the 30 or so who gathered in the City of Salem Council chamber. 

“It’s been an honor to be the Mayor of this city and to serve the people of this community,” said Merry. “It’s been a great honor. We’ve had a great time. I got a lot of things done with everyone working together. It’s not about one person – it’s about everyone being a team.”

“You may not all agree on the same thing but you come to an agreement on how to get the job done so that everyone benefits,” Merry said. “I want to thank the council, Sally, the Board of Works, county officials…We all got the job done. It was an honor to serve you and I’m looking forward to handing over the reins.”

After Merry aided Green in taking the oath of office, Green addressed the group.

“Thank you, Judge, Thank you, Troy, thank you, Stephanie… I want to speak about privilege. I’ve had the privilege to be a councilman for 12 years. I’ve had the privilege to learn under Mayor Bower — Under Troy Merry. I’ve had the privilege of working with a very good council and the privelidge of having a lot of support. I promise you this is something that I don’t take lightly. I want to be your mayor. A lot of good things are going to come in 2020,” said Green. 

Green said he was looking forward to the council’s first meeting on January 13.

“We have a business to conduct,” he said. “I want to leave this evening on a positive note. The theme is going to be a lot of positive things in the years to come and soon, very soon, January is fast approaching. I have large shoes to fill. Troy has done a great job, been a great friend. He is leaving, sadly. I’m taking over and I’m very excited. We have a lot of things to look forward to.”

Merry, ended the ceremony with a laugh.

“The city is in good hands,” said Merry. “It is an honor to turn my office and desk over to Justin Green…after I set a few booby traps.”