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Eldridge sworn in as new Washington County mayor

In a multi-million dollar facility named for him, George Jaynes handed over the reins last week, officially retiring as mayor of Washington County.
Shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jaynes watched as new Mayor Dan Eldridge was sworn in by Criminal Court Judge Robert Cupp inside the George P. Jaynes Justice Center. It marked the first change in leadership for Washington County in 24 years.
Jaynes called the swearing in a “changing of the guard,” then handed Eldridge a set of keys that would get him into “just about every county building.”
“Dan and I have made many trips up (Highway 11E) since he got elected,” Jaynes said. “He’s a very smart and intelligent person. I’ve enjoyed this so much.”
A packed house gave Jaynes a standing ovation while also welcoming Eldridge to his new position.
“I’m so honored to have been elected and have the opportunity to serve in this role,” Eldridge said. “The time (Jaynes) spent with me, it was very beneficial, especially when you are talking about transitioning a county government that has been under the same leadership for 24 years.”
Eldridge complemented Jaynes, saying he left things “in good shape for me to take over.”
Also sworn in at last week’s ceremony were the Washington County commissioners, 14 of whom are new to the job. Ethan Flynn and Joe Grandy, both newly elected, were noticeably absent from both the ceremony and the called meeting that followed.
According to Eldridge, Flynn was unable to get out of work to attend the Sept. 1 events while Grandy was out of the state at the time. Both Flynn and Grandy will be sworn in at the Sept. 27 commission meeting, Eldridge said.
School board members Chad Williams, Keith Ervin, William Brinkley, David Hammond, Jack Leonard and Clarence Mabe all raised their right hands as well, promising to serve responsibly as members of the Washington County Board of Education.
Also taking an oath of service were Scott Buckingham, assessor of property; Jack Daniels, trustee; Ed Graybeal, sheriff; Karen Guinn, circuit court clerk; Ginger Jilton, register of deeds; Jeff Kelly, 1st District public defender; Kathy Storey, county clerk; and approximately two dozen deputy clerks from the circuit court.