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Helt hands torch to Clark SOUTHEAST -- Sykesville * Eldersburg * Gamber


Priscilla Clark chatted amiably with the security guards who were checking her into the County Courthouse yesterday.

"I am here for the swearing in of the new Sykesville mayor," she said.

"Are you Mrs. Helt?" a guard asked.

She quickly corrected the misinformed man.

"Lloyd Helt is moving to Westminster, and Ken Clark is the new mayor in our town," she said.

The new and the about-to-be former mayors were attending a meeting with the county commissioners a block away in the County Office Building.

When that session ended, they planned to walk to the courthouse and meet Mrs. Clark for the swearing-in ceremony.

"I hope the meeting doesn't go overtime," she said. "Ken has to catch a flight to California at noon."

The mayoral stroll between buildings, as it turned out, was more of a race in the rain.

"We waited a few minutes for the rain to let up, then ran like crazy," Mr. Helt said.

"We had our jog," Mr. Clark said.

Out of breath and a little wet from the jaunt, they still managed to look official.

Mrs. Clark adjusted her husband's tie as they all waited in the pale green and floral papered "wedding room" beside the clerk's office.

One small glitch momentarily delayed the swearing-in ceremony. Before Circuit Court Clerk Larry Shipley could administer the oath of office to Mr. Clark, he needed certification of the election, which the mayor-elect won by 47 votes over Maxine Wooleyhand.

"Just a little oversight. I'll have our clerk-treasurer send the certification," said Mr. Helt, who is leaving office after three terms.

"When you only do this every four years, you forget some of the paperwork," he said.

As Mrs. Clark snapped several pictures, the ceremony proceeded.

Mr. Clark promised to use "his best skill and judgment, without partiality or prejudice, to execute the office of mayor of Sykesville."

"It's all official now," Mr. Shipley said.

L Mrs. Clark said it's been official since the May 4 election.

"People in town are already knocking on our door with their problems," she said.

Mr. Shipley wished "best of luck" to both men and added, "with whatever you are doing in your free time, too," to Mr. Helt.

The Clarks posed for one more picture holding the official mayoral certificate between them.

"This will be framed on our wall of fame at home," said a smiling Mrs. Clark.

With little more than an hour to get to the airport, the Clarks quickly departed.

"Maybe you could call the Sykesville police to escort you," Mrs. Clark's sister, Patricia Lawson, said with a laugh.

"I don't think you want to get involved in that kind of controversy," advised Mr. Helt.

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