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SIOUX CITY | Change was seen in spades Tuesday, as in a buoyant atmosphere three men were sworn in as new members of the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors and a new chairman was selected.

Matthew Ung was unanimously picked Tuesday to serve as chairman of the five-member board for 2017.

"This is a great honor and a privilege," Ung said.

Ung said he aims to continue the trend of making county government responsive to residents. He leads a board that includes new members -- Keith Radig, Marty Pottebaum and Rocky De Witt -- who were elected in November. The three had family members watching Tuesday's ceremony where they each took the oath of office.

The fifth board member is Jeremy Taylor, who had been chairman in 2016, but he said he wasn't interested in going for a second year. Taylor was tapped to be vice chairman this year.

Ung said he wants to lower the county property tax rate for a third consecutive year.

"That sends a strong message -- three years is a definable trend," he said.

Ung also said he has goal of making transparent county decisions, which again referenced the transparency bent he and Taylor have sought over two years.

"It is not just a buzzword to me," he said.

The chairman presides at weekly Tuesday board meetings, and typically holds more power on the direction of county government and priorities. In the current fiscal year, the chairman also collects $6,300 more in pay than the other four supervisors.  The supervisors receive an annual salary of $33,151, while the chairman makes $39,469 per year.

De Witt will represent the District 5 seat. De Witt, 57, works as a courthouse security deputy for the County Sheriff's Office and lives in rural Lawton. 

Radig, 37, of Sioux City, works as a HOM Furniture salesman. In representing District 1, Radig has elective office experience, as he just resigned from the Sioux City Council after seven years.

Pottebaum, 64, is also a former Sioux City Councilman, with a stint in the 1990s. Pottebaum works as director of security at Briar Cliff University in Sioux City. He represents county District 3.

De Witt, Radig and Pottebaum will serve four-year terms that run through 2020. Also sworn in Tuesday were Sheriff Dave Drew, who won a second term, and Auditor Pat Gill, who was first elected in 1996 and is set to serve for at least 24 years.

The Woodbury County Board of Supervisors experienced the substantial makeover, since three Democratic supervisors with a combined 54 years of service -- Larry Clausen, Mark Monson and Jackie Smith -- ended their tenures in December. With the election of Republicans De Witt and Radig and Pottebaum, a Democrat, in November, the GOP now controls four of the five seats, the first majority for the party since 1982.

Monson and Clausen lost re-election bids, while Clausen retired after 34 years on the county board.

Ung said the county board lost a lot of experience, but he resolved "to pursue excellence."

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County and education reporter

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