CONEJOS — Opening the ceremony with the sentiment, “Public service is a public trust,” 12th Judicial District Judge Martin Gonzales shared his thoughts with persons being sworn in as Conejos County elected officers.
“I want to congratulate you,” he began. “I’m sure that you and your family and friends are proud of you.”
Speaking to a standing-room-only audience in the county courtroom, he offered a “word or two for reflection on public service.”
“Thomas Jefferson enunciated the basic principle of public service,” the judge said. “ “When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property.”
Addressing the men and women who were to be sworn in, he said, “You are embarking on a path of public service at a time when many proclaim that government has little or no value or worse as the problem.”
“I submit adherence to fundamental ethics are necessary to creating value in this public service.”
“People are watching you and the government you create… every bit as much as any other. The citizens of this county deserve a government that works for them.”
“They want you to make this county stand out, to meet your obligations, to lead this county to a future full of pride, progress and compassion for the least of us and with this challenge comes and opportunity of leadership.”
“I urge you to be the leaders you yourself have wanted in government. Be the leaders the Conejos County citizens need and have a right to expect you to be.”
Among those sworn in with the goal of meeting high public expectations is Sheriff Garth Crowther. A retired Colorado State Patrol trooper with experience working at the county level with the sheriff’s department since his election in November, Crowther said the department has “some good people who just need some leadership.”
Retaining Chris Crown as undersheriff, Crowther said experience is part of that challenge.
“We are changing the image of the sheriff’s office,” he said. “We will make it professional and something the people can be proud of.”
His badge and credentials were presented by outgoing Sheriff Robert Gurule, who had served in the position since March, replacing Howard Galvez Jr., who resigned.
In addition to Crowther, Gonzales swore in Surveyor Martin Reynolds, Coroner Richard Martin, Commissioner Mitch Jarvies, Treasurer Mack M. Crowther, County Clerk and Recorder Nathan Ruybal and Assessor Naomi Keys.