Jerry Echemann of Martins Ferry was sworn in by Belmont County Common Pleas Judge Frank Fregiato.
Echemann had a long career in broadcast news. He was versatile; at ease doing news, sports, even weather, but now he says the voters game him a chance at a completely new career, for which he’s grateful.
“I, Jerry Echemann, do solemnly swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States,” he began, led by Judge Fregiato.
The election was two months ago, so Echemann is just anxious to get rolling on the new job. He’s stepping in during a potentially momentous time in history.
“I’ve already had a meeting with some of the people with the cracker plant,” he noted. “And everybody feels real good about it. It’s kind of like all systems go. And it’s going to be such a big thing for Belmont County, if we get it. Hard for any of us to really imagine what it’s going to mean for the area.”
Surrounded by loved ones, he said this day is very meaningful.
“Oh just so happy,” he said. “It’s a day I’ll never forget. I’ve got my son Austin here, my son Spencer, my girlfriend Charlene. And just to have these people around me for this big day just makes me very happy and proud.”
He already has meetings set up with department heads, to learn about their operations and budgetary needs.
Although best known for his 30-year broadcast career, his lesser-known vocation is his long-time knowledge and study of money management, finance and the stock market.
“And I think that will help me in the job,” he said with a smile. “Because I do understand money and the need to have a budget and stay within a budget. Commissioners do such things as go to Chicago and meet with the bond rating agencies. The better your bond rating, the better your financing is going to be. And things like that, I have a fairly good grasp of. So it’ll help me. You need to know a little bit about money!”
His first commission meeting will be next Thursday.
The date of that meeting is January 3. On January 3, 1981, he started work at WTRF TV.
He says it’s a pretty lucky day for him.