New sheriff in town

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Skarban sworn in along with clerk of courts

Warren Bluhm,

Oconto County Sheriff-elect Todd Skarban takes the oath of office with his family – daughter Ellayna, wife Heather and son Emerich – in Judge Jay N. Conley’s courtroom with friends, family and co-workers standing by Dec. 7. (Times Herald photo by Warren Bluhm)

The new sheriff of Oconto County doesn’t officially start work until Jan. 7, but his oath of office is administered, signed, sealed and delivered.

Judge Jay N. Conley took care of that business Friday, swearing in Todd Skarban as the new sheriff and re-upping Mike Hodkiewicz for another four-year term as clerk of courts, a job he has held for 28 years.

Skarban defeated Chief Deputy Ed Janke in the Aug. 14 Republican primary. He and fellow Republican Hodkiewicz were then unopposed on the general election ballot Nov. 6.

The two men exchanged compliments in a courtroom packed with friends and family, with Skarban saying his big victory in August owed a lot to advice from Hodkiewicz about how to campaign for local office.

“Back in 1990, there’s a method that I had learned, and I was very fortunate,” Hodkiewicz said. “Todd and his family did an outstanding job, and it was step by step by step.”

Hodkiewicz thanked his wife of 46 years, Mary Ann, as well as two people who could not attend, his recently deceased mother and his sister, who has been battling a serious illness for three years.

“I’ve had 28 years (in office), and I have four more years,” he said. “That’ll give me 32, and when I hit 70, I’ll go get a job.”

Skarban called the recent campaign “one of the most rewarding, most difficult and most humbling experiences of my life, and I wouldn’t be here without all of you.”

He expressed gratitude for his parents, Norbert and Darlene Skarban; his wife, Heather, and their children, Emerich and Ellayna.

“I really am at a loss when it comes to ‘Do you deserve to be standing here?’ Do I deserve or have I earned my place at the table?” Skarban said. “Resoundingly, I feel like the county told me, ‘Yeah, you did a good job for 20 years, and you’re not that bad of a guy. So we’re going to elect you to be the next county sheriff.’”

He turned and faced Hodkiewicz and then his campaign treasurer, Vicki Roberts, to thank them individually along with other supporters, friends and co-workers who came to Conley’s courtroom for the ceremony.

“I can’t wait until Jan. 7; I can’t wait until the rubber meets the road and we get this whole thing rolling,” Skarban said.