It was a seamless changing of the guard Wednesday morning at the Pontotoc County Courthouse, which welcomed a new County Court Clerk, to the job for the first time since 2006.
Replacing longtime Court Clerk Ernestine Eubank was Karen Dunnigan, who has worked alongside her mentor for the last 28 years. Eubank began as deputy court clerk in 1967 and retired this week after 46 years.
The soft-spoken Dunnigan was sworn in by District Judge Tom Landrith inside the courtroom with a large crowd of well-wishers on hand for the special occasion. “I’m really excited,” she said after the brief ceremony. “I’m just not a good speaker. I’m just really nervous.”
She was glad to see the majority of her family in the courtroom. “I really believe they support my decision,” she said.
Her husband of 29 years, Steve, works for Chickasaw Housing and was on hand for the ceremony along with the couple’s two sons and a 2-year-old grandson.
Dunnigan said she will try to continue the work done by her predecessor. “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” she said. “I think Ernestine did a wonderful job.”
The swearing in came at the conclusion of an informal County Commission meeting, held on this occasion inside the gates separating the witness stand, podium and counsel desks from the remainder of the courtroom.
All three commissioners were on hand, but it was District Three Commissioner Justin Roberts who made the motion nominating Dunnigan, followed by Commissioner Gary Starns seconding the motion.
A reception followed and then it was back to doing the work of the residents of Pontotoc County — perhaps for another 46 years.