County leaders on Monday welcomed a new commissioner and said their farewells to another.

Clerk of Court Ann Melton swore in Gayle Woody, a Democrat, who defeated Republican Commissioner Charles Elders in November’s District 1 race. Melton also swore in returning Democrat commissioners Chairman Brian McMahan and Boyce Deitz.


Following the ceremony, the new board held its first organizational meeting and voted unanimously to:

• Select Deitz as vice chair.

• Approve bonds for the Register of Deeds and Sheriff’s Office, for $50,000 and $25,000, respectively.

• Adopt its “suggested rules of procedure,” in which the only change from the previous board is the meeting schedule. Starting in January, commissioners will meet at 6 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month and at 3 p.m. on the third Tuesday. The previous board held its meetings on Mondays. The schedule for work sessions remains as is.

• Appointed Deitz to serve as a representative on the nonprofit Mountain Projects board, replacing Elders.

• Appointed Woody to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, replacing Deitz.

• Appointed Woody to serve alongside McMahan on the Road Naming board, replacing Elders.


Prior to the swearing-in ceremony, officials held a special meeting to award Elders with a plaque of appreciation.

Elders served as commissioner from 1994-98, and from 2010-18.

“It’s been a great pleasure serving Jackson County for 12 years,” he said. “I’ve worked with some good friends, and made some great friends.”

Elders said he looked up to the late T.C. Lewis and the late Padgett McCoy, who served as commissioners at the time he was elected. “I’ve tried to live according to what they talked to me about, and I’ll always be grateful to them,” he said.

Elders also congratulated Woody for her election victory. “I wish Godspeed with her, and for this county, nothing but good luck and growth,” he said.


Commissioners also held a public hearing on the proposed financing contract for Southwestern Community College’s Health Science Building.

Adam Bigelow said he hopes SCC would manage construction to have as light of an impact on the environment as possible.

He was the only one to speak.


Following commissioners’ organizational meeting, they walked across the hall to Courtroom 1 to see the swearing-in ceremony for Sheriff Chip Hall and other law enforcement officers.

Hall thanked his family for always having his back, and his officers and staff members for all of their hard work the past four years.