HAZARD — New terms for some elected county officials have officially started.
Perry County Commonwealth’s Attorney John Hansen and Perry Circuit Clerk Charles Patterson were sworn in by Judge William Engle on Monday.
After being sworn in, Hansen and Patterson addressed those in attendance.
“I look forward to working for you, as I was telling several of you earlier, I look forward to being on the same side again,” said Hansen, who for the past six years has practiced as a private attorney.
Hansen previously served as commonwealth’s attorney from 2000 to 2006, and told The Herald he plans to pick up where he left off.
“Pretty much what we’re going to do is we’re going to try to bring a little bit more credibility to the office, like we did last time,” Hansen said. “What we want to do is, through this office, hopefully build back the reputation that Perry County used to have, hard-working people who care.”
Hansen said during his term he and his staff hope to attack the drug problem that is destroying the community.
“And once we get folks in jail, hopefully the other elected officials … will see and promote the word that Perry Countians are good people, they’re not pill-billies,” Hansen said.
Patterson will be serving his first term as an elected official, but had to start early and took the interim position after former Court Clerk Roger Collins retired a week early after serving two terms.
“It’s kind of odd, usually you’ve got the man in charge training the workers, but right now the workers are training me,” Patterson said.
Patterson said he plans to make changes to the office based on complaints he heard from concerned citizens during his campaign.
“I’m studying the way things are now and the problems that were expressed to me, trying to figure out a way to incorporate some kind of change that’s going to be good for the community,” he said.
Patterson added that some of these changes include things like extending the hours of the driver’s licensing office and making the office overall more efficient.
“Most of the complaints revolved around the efficiency of the office, and of course driver’s licensing hours,” Patterson said. “A lot of people in the county work during the day, so it’s hard for them to get here before 4 o’clock.”
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Josh Mullins was also sworn in on Monday.