By Pat Jenkins
A new era of government in Eatonville began officially last week with the swearing-in of the town’s newly elected mayor and two council members.
Taking the oath of office were Mayor Mike Schaub and councilmen Bob Walter and Andy Powell. The choices of voters in the general election last November have now begun their four-year terms.
That development topped off a nearly complete turnover of the town’s seven elected leaders. All but one of those offices have changed hands since 2011.
The metamorphosis began with the election that year of Abby Gribi to a council seat whose incumbent didn’t run for re-election.
In August 2012, Jim Valentine resigned from the council. James Schrimpsher was appointed in October by other council members to replace him.
And last fall, more dominoes fell in the election:
• Ray Harper, who instead of seeking another term as mayor ran for a council seat for which then-councilman Bob Schaub didn’t seek re-election, lost to Walter.
• Mike Schaub was elected mayor, giving up his office of town treasurer in the process.
• Gordon Bowman, who surrendered his council seat in order to run for mayor, was replaced by Powell, the only candidate who ran to succeed Bowman.
The shuffling leaves Branden Pierce as the only council member who was in office two years ago.
For their formal transitions from mayor-elect and councllmen-elect to officeholders, Schaub, Walter and Powell were sworn in last Thursday by Pierce County Superior Court Judge John McCarthy.
McCarthy fllled the role at the request of Walter, a former classmate and longtime friend.
“The heart of government is local government,” McCarthy told the new officials after they recited the oath of office.
The judge’s wife, County Executive Pat McCarthy, also spoke to them and an audience of 18 friends and relatives of the trio.
“It’s a big deal to run for office and serve the public,” she said. “You do the best you can because you care about your community.”
Schaub said he’s “looking forward to the next four years and seeing the town move forward.”
Walter said he’s been researching municipal government procedures and laws in preparation for council work.
Powell declined to make any comments.