Ronnie Phillips is congratulated by 6th District commissioner Hertis Phillips after being sworn in at Tuesday's County Commission meeting in Huntsville. (Independent Herald photo/Ben Garrett)
Ronnie Phillips is congratulated by 6th District commissioner Hertis Phillips after being sworn in at Tuesday's County Commission meeting in Huntsville. (Independent Herald photo/Ben Garrett)

HUNTSVILLE — By a 13-0 vote here Tuesday evening, Scott County Commission appointed Ronnie Phillips to fill the remainder of the current term.

After Scott County Mayor Jeff Tibbals announced that Phillips and former chief deputy Bobby Ellis were the only two applicants who had formally stepped forward to declare a candidacy for the vacancy, a vote was taken with each commissioner expressing his or her choice for sheriff, in alphabetical order. With commissioner Willie Boyatt absent, the commission voted unanimously for Phillips.

Phillips succeeds the late Mike Cross, who died in December following a short battle with a rare form of melanoma. Phillips served as interim sheriff for the duration of Cross's three years in office, and worked for Cross as a corporal at Oneida Police Department before that. After Cross became too ill to work on a daily basis, Phillips handled the day-to-day operations at the department.

Ronnie Phillips
Ronnie Phillips

Ellis served as the department's chief deputy from 2006 to 2010, when Anthony Lay was sheriff. He served as acting sheriff for several weeks in the summer of 2010 after Lay resigned to take a position with the U.S. Marshal Service.

A large contingency of Sheriff's Department personnel — both road officers and jailers — were on hand for Tuesday's vote, which came at the beginning of the commission's monthly meeting.

Phillips, who — along with Ellis — was on hand for the vote, was sworn in by Tibbals immediately after the vote was taken.

Following his swearing-in, Phillips told the Independent Herald that there was unfinished business to be dealt with.

"When I came down here with Sheriff Cross, he and I set out with plans to better the Sheriff's Department," Phillips said. "We had completed some of those together to make this a department that the citizens of Scott County could be proud of and proud to call their department. There are things we didn't get to complete together, and I hope to continue on with those plans and make the department even better."

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