Monica Ernst, wife of new Brookhaven mayor John Ernst, and their children attended the ceremonies Jan. 4 to swear Ernst and other city officials into office for a new term. Evan Ernst, 3, points toward the podium during the swearing in of City Councilwoman Linley Jones, as Avery Clockadale, 7, and Jack Ernst, 5, watch. (Photo by Phil Mosier)

John Ernst pledged to create a more unified and transparent Brookhaven government as he was sworn in as the city’s mayor during a Jan. 4 ceremony at City Hall.

Continuing the theme of reform he campaigned on, Ernst said “there’s going to be many hills to climb…and many valleys to climb out of.” He promised to work toward “a city of thought leaders, a community with character…run with transparency, efficiency and consistency.”

A large crowd filled the City Council chamber at City Hall at 10:30 a.m. to see Ernst take office. DeKalb County Judge Mike Jacobs–a former law school classmate of the new mayor–led the oath of office. Ernst took the oath with his hand on his family’s Bible, a gigantic, leather-bound edition that he said dates to the late 1800s. Council members Linley Jones and Bates Mattison were also sworn in.

In remarks after being sworn in, Ernst said there will be a “complete inventory” of city government, adding that he knows some departments–specifically the police–are “great,” while others will need a “course correction.”

“And now, let’s go make Brookhaven better,” he said in conclusion.

The swearing-in ceremony was officially a City Council meeting and the first one led by Ernst. He made two minor slip-ups, calling for the Pledge of Allegiance at the wrong moment and stating the year as 2012. “A mistake–the first of many, folks, the first of many,” he joked.

John Ernst is sworn in to office as Brookhaven’s new mayor on Jan. 4. His wife, Monica Ernst, held a family Bible as DeKalb Judge Mike Jacobs delivers the oath. (Photo by Phil Mosier)