By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
Newly elected and re-elected Deschutes County public officials were sworn-in to office today, on this the first workday of the New Year.
Coronavirus was top of mind as evidenced by precautions taken for the oaths of office administered and statements made by at least one of the newly sworn-in officials.
Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson, Treasurer Greg Munn, and Commissioner Phil Chang officially took office after Presiding Circuit Court Judge Wells Ashby administered the oath of office.
“Running for office is not easy. Without people willing to step forward to make the commitment to serve the community, we would be lost,” Ashby said.
The swearing-in ceremony was held in the cavernous First Interstate Bank Center at the Deschutes County fairgrounds.
The space can seat nearly 8,000 for a concert but today, for health and safety reasons during the coronavirus pandemic, hosted about 30 people.
“Some of the issues I’m excited to dive into immediately are helping to contain COVID,” said Phil Chang, Deschutes County Commissioner. “Helping our rapidly growing community grow well and watching out for the health and sustainability of our community overall.”
Chang believes Deschutes County’s response to COVID can be accelerated by combining county general fund dollars with federal money.
“I believe that investing our local money, our county general funds, in response might be necessary to get the virus in our community under control faster,” he said.
Chang believes the addition of county general funds could increase the capacity to administer vaccines and expand testing.
“Those are things we could do if we were willing to dedicate more resources,” Chang said.
Munn was interim treasurer before being elected to the job in November.
This is Nelson’s second full term in office.