TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - It was a day of endings and beginnings at the Shawnee County Courthouse.
In the basement, before the Thursday morning commission meeting, outgoing Shawnee Co. Treasurer Larry Wilson shook hands and hugged commissioners and fellow department heads. In the afternoon, in the first-floor treasurer's office, Larry Mah officially took the oath as Wilson's successor.
"I've been preparing to for this for over a year," Mah said. "This gives me a chance to do something rather than just thinking about it."
For his part, Wilson said he was saying goodbye to a lot of friends and colleagues. He says simply being at the courthouse is what he will miss the most.
Wilson served as treasurer since 2003. His tenure was marred most recently by day-long waits, first, by closing an annex location, then when converting to a new state computer system.
He believes the kinks will be worked out and he believes Mah is the right person to move the office into the future. Wilson opted not to seek re-election and voters chose Mah to replace him. By law, Wilson could have remained in office until October, but he chose to resign early because he was comfortable with Mah's experience. He says Mah is thoroughly familiar with the technology and sought out additional training on his own.
Wilson applauded as Mah assumed his duties. Mah is pledging to eliminate the lines, improve customer service and do some innovative things. Among his ideas are adding more annex locations, expanding to evening and weekend hours and, similar to state drivers license offices, developing a system to get in line by going online. Mah hopes to have the virtual line system implemented by March.
Mah said he never wanted to go into politics, but, over the past year and a half, developed a growing interest in the job.
"I think it will be challenging, but, if I accomplish my goals, it will be rewarding," Mah said.