Rockdale’s Probate Judge Clarence Cuthpert, Jr. takes oath of office

Judge Clarence Cuthpert with his mother Mary Pinckney of Savannah, Georgia.

Judge Clarence Cuthpert with his son Reginald, daughter-in-law Mercedes and grandson Mason.

By Valerie J. Morgan

Families and friends filled the pews of the Rockdale County Auditorium on Dec. 29 to witness the installation ceremonies for Rockdale’s 11 newly elected officials, six of whom were incumbents.

The program’s emcee, George Lopez, a Rockdale native and former journalist with CBS in Augusta,

quipped that it was fitting for the audience to “have church.” After all, he said, the ceremonies were taking place in what used to be a church. He encouraged the audience to celebrate and have some fun, reminding them it was the holiday season.

Judge Irwin allowed each elected official and their family members to stand together for the swearing in, and gave the army of photographers in attendance time to snap some quick photos.

During the program, there was one especially poignant moment when the elderly mother of Probate Judge Clarence Cuthpert, Jr., clutching her cane, carefully made her way on to the stage to proudly stand beside him. Cuthpert had motioned for her to keep her seat on the front row, but she insisted and the audience erupted in thunderous applause. Cuthpert was reminded by Judge Irwin that while he may be a judge now, mom still runs the house.

Cuthpert, along with Juvenile Court Judge Maureen E. Wood, Post 1 Commissioner Sherri Len Washington and Tax Commissioner Tisa Smart Washington all made history as first-time elected officials.