ewly elected Platte County officers were sworn in to their positions during a ceremony at the county government complex on Thursday morning.
Presiding Circuit Judge, Lee Hull, Division II, officiated the new terms of recorder of deeds Gloria Boyer, presiding commissioner Jason Brown, county clerk Joan Harms, county auditor Kevin Robinson, prosecuting attorney Eric Zahnd and county collector Sheila Palmer.
A mother of two with two grandchildren and now serving her second term as recorder of deeds, Gloria Boyer worked previously as deputy recorder for 15 years. After she was sworn in, she thanked her family, her staff, and the voters of Platte County for their support.
With his youngest son in his arms and the rest of his family by his side, Jason Brown, at the time still a state representative, swore to faithfully serve in his new role as presiding commissioner. Brown replaces Betty Knight, who did not seek reelection after four terms of service in Platte County.
Choking up a little as he specially thanked his wife for her support, Brown said, “It’s been a long eight years in Jefferson City and I’m very excited to be home.”
An unidentified voice from somewhere in the room added, “Amen.”
Brown is an Army reservist, having served in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iraq and has worked as both the director of public works and of planning and zoning for Platte City.
Admittedly relatively new to politics after a 35-year background in corporate procurement and quality control, Joan Harms, the newly elected county clerk, took the oath of office with her grandchildren Jackson and Samantha Leonard by her side. In her brief follow-up comment, Harms thanked voters for their support and said she promised to “do you proud.”
Replacing Siobahnn Williams as county auditor, Kevin Robinson, owner of Platte City-based human resources management firm, PeopleWise, acknowledged that citizens who don’t work for the county will probably not be coming to see him in his new role but said that his door is “open if you need it” anyway.
“I too appreciate the support and consideration that was given to us back in November that allows us to be here today,” said Robinson.
Robinson was contracted by the county to conduct a third-party audit of the human resources department in response to bookkeeping issues raised by Williams. After the audit, Robinson’s wife, Mary, was hired as the new director of the human resources department, a county decision which raised some eyebrows at the time.
Eric Zahnd also shared the spotlight with his family as he was sworn in to a third term as the county’s prosecuting attorney.
“I do consider it a very solemn responsibility every time I step into the courtroom on behalf of the state of Missouri and the citizens of Platte County,” said Zahnd.
Zahnd’s biography on the Platte County website states he heads a team of 11 attorneys and eight staff members and that he has “personally convicted every person charged with murder since he took office.”
Sheila Palmer, after serving for 17 years on the staff of the county collector’s office, was sworn in to its lead role. Palmer replaces Donna Nash, who is retiring after six terms in the office. Palmer thanked family, friends and supporters as well as Nash, who “has been a great role model and a great officeholder.”
Serving previously and during the election as assistant chief deputy collector, Palmer ran against chief deputy collector, Becky Dye, for the position. Both candidates told The Landmark at the time that it was an amicable competition and that whichever won the election would continue the employment of the other.
Presented with a plaque from Jason Brown, Betty Knight closed the ceremony by distributing county pins to new officers–the same pin, she said, that she has “proudly” worn for “a long time.”
“With all the support of everyone in this room and the citizens of Platte County, everything is just going to get better and better,” said Knight.