AZTEC — Two new San Juan County commissioners, who now represent all of Farmington, were part of a group of elected officials and county government appointees sworn in during a Monday evening ceremony.

Three commissioners, the county clerk and the county treasurer took their oaths along with the clerk's and the treasurer's chief deputies. They officially took over their positions on New Year's Eve.

Republicans Jack Fortner and Keith Johns easily won their November elections and now represent commission districts 4 and 5, respectively, which encompass Farmington.

Fortner replaced his successor, James Henderson, in District 4.

Fortner previously represented the district from 1996 to 2004. Henderson, who was president of San Juan College for 27 years, was the commissioner from 2004 to 2012.

County commissioners have a two-term, eight-year limit but they can run again four years after leaving office.

In addition to being elected commissioner three times, Fortner is a Farmington attorney and president of the University of New Mexico Board of Regents.

He has said he will use the positions he holds in New Mexico to try to diversify the local economy as a commissioner.

Johns is a new face to the commission but not to San Juan County government. He was the county executive officer from 2002 to 2010.

Prior to working for the county he was an administrator for Arizona Public Service Co. at Four Corners Power Plant.


Johns will take over from Tony Atkinson, who has worked for San Juan County government for more than 30 years, including 16 years as the county executive officer and the past eight years as a District 5 commissioner.

"I know the county far and wide and I know of the issues," Johns said. "There's a lot challenges ... but we have a very good team to meet those challenges that are before us."

Commissioner Scott Eckstein was re-elected in November and he was also sworn in Monday evening.

Eckstein said although the county may see tough economic times in coming years, there is a wealth of experience on the commission.

He said the newly elected commissioners will work well with Commissioner GloJean Todacheene, who worked in local schools and is familiar with issues on the Navajo reservation, and Commissioner Margaret McDaniel, who has been involved with local economic development groups.

"We're going to be facing challenges over the next four years. But this is one of the best commissions this county has ever had," he said. "You can trust the county is in good hands."

In addition to the commissioners, County Clerk Debbie Holmes and her chief deputy Tanya Shelby, and County Treasurer Mark Duncan and his chief deputy Carol Taulbee were also sworn in.

About 75 people -- friends, family, county employees and community members -- attended the ceremony. Farmington Municipal Judge Bill Liese swore in the officials.