It was a full day of back-to-back celebrations for new Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg, who attended two swearing-in ceremonies to kick off his term as top prosecutor.
The mood was light and the crowd supportive as everyone packed into the 11th floor courtroom at the Palm Beach County Courthouse.
Palm Beach Circuit Judge Edward Fine administered the oath of office, using a 100-year-old Bible that belonged to Aronberg’s grandfather, a namesake Aronberg called “the only other person in politics in the family.”
Aronberg’s parents, Hank and Sue, were by his side.
Other public officials attending the hour-long ceremony included several Palm Beach County commissioners, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, Congresswoman Lois Frankel and Aronberg’s close friend, state Sen. Joe Abruzzo.
Noticeably missing was Aronberg’s former boss, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who was tending to her ill father.
Statewide Prosecutor Nick Cox, an Aronberg colleague in former Attorney General Bob Butterworth’s office, drove from Tampa to fill Bondi’s shoes.
In his speech, Cox addressed the law enforcement officials in the room when he said, “You all are in for a treat.”
He called Aronberg “good people” and a “good friend of law enforcement.”
“You can kind of gauge a state attorney by who they surround themselves with,” Cox said.
Aronberg will surrounded himself with seasoned professionals in his new position. He recently announced three new hires to his management team: veteran prosecutors Adrienne Ellis and Al Johnson, and Brian Fernandes, the former chief assistant statewide prosecutor for Southwest Florida.
Johnson is resigning from his job as executive director of Palm Beach County’s Ethics Commission to take the position. He spent 17 years as a prosecutor before building the county ethics agency from the ground up.
“It demonstrates that the office is going to make public corruption a priority,” Aronberg said of hiring Johnson.
Immediately following the courthouse ceremony, a larger, more public crowd awaited at the Embassy Suites in West Palm Beach, where county Clerk and Comptroller Sharon Bock officiated another swearing-in.
When addressing the crowd, Aronberg, relieved the campaigning was over, hinted at The Palm Beach Post’s repeated attacks leading up to the election. Aronberg has on several occasions condemned The Post’s articles as lies.
“Despite all of the political operatives, consultants, pollsters and party bosses out there, elections come down to people and the visceral bond between the candidate and the voter,” Aronberg said. “And once that bond is established no amount of misinformation or defamation will break it.
“My election is living proof that positive campaigning can still triumph over negative campaigning and that truth will always prevail over lies.”
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