Circuit Judge Ray W. Grubbs administered the oath of office to new and returning county officials at the Court House Monday — at least to those who bothered to show up (two did not).
Three of those who took the oath represent a significant change in county government: Stephanie Murray Shortt, the first woman elected to the post of Commonwealth’s Attorney; Bill Gardner, a second Democrat to join the Republican-dominated Board of Supervisors; and Virgel Allen, a new Supervisor who came in on a wave of anti-incumbent anger.
These three have a chance to prove government in Floyd County will not be business as usual. All three rode the crest of an anti-incumbent wave that sent the existing Commonwealth’s Attorney and two Supervisors packing in the Republican caucus earlier this year and two of them then ousted the GOP favorites in the general election.
Voters, however, can be a fickle bunch. Shortt, Gardiner and Allen face lives in office on short leashes which can be yanked tight by a county populace fed up with high taxes, declining services and too many criminals walking out of a court room from plea bargains.
Like their romantic counterparts, political love affairs often end badly. Voters in this fast-food, instant gratification society want action now, not tomorrow. Even worse, these political virgins must contend with a new information age where details of their deeds — and misdeeds — spread rapidly and without mercy.
Welcome to office newcomers. That prickly feeling on the back of your neck is not paranoia.
You ARE being watched.