For the first time in nearly four decades, Republicans last week claimed the chairmanship of the Beaver County Commission.

Following swearing-in ceremonies for officials elected in November, Republican Commissioner Ross Marshall nominated newly elected Republican Commissioner Gary Sullivan to replace Democratic Commissioner Chad Johnson as chairman of the three-member panel.Johnson had held the chair for the past decade and gave it up without argument Tuesday.

"We haven't had a Republican chairman in Beaver County on the commission for almost 50 years that I can remember," Marshall said.

However, County Clerk Paul Barton said Beaver officials were only certain it had been 38 years since the last GOP chairman, although it may have been longer.

Though the county seems fairly split between residents claiming Democratic and Republican affiliation, the Democrats have lost commission seats in each of the last two elections and now have just one.

However, Johnson said he hoped the commission wouldn't become political or biased toward one party.

"In all the years I've been on the commission, I have never voted a certain way because of the Democrats or the Republicans," he said.