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Harrison County Circuit Court Clerk

Election preview

October 22, 2008
Republican incumbent Sherry L. Brown is challenged by Harrison County Recorder Barbara J. Mathes in the race for Harrison County Circuit Court Clerk.

Sherry L. Brown, Rep.

Personal: Brown, 43, of Corydon, and her husband of 24 years, Randy, have three children, Sharon, 21, Isaac, 18, and Shane, 12. A 1984 graduate of South Central Junior-Senior High School, she has served as Harrison County circuit clerk since 2005. Voters may contact Brown at sherrybrown@harrisoncounty.in.gov or 968-3059.

Duties of position sought: Record keeping of all court, marriage and probate documents, collection and distribution of cash child support payments, passport application acceptance and election administration.

Why are you seeking the office? I am seeking this office to continue the public services my staff and I have begun: the passport service, the computerization of the offices and the generation of additional income for the County General Fund.

What qualifies you for the office? The qualifications that I have for the office are my past four years of experience and my friendly, open-door, forward-thinking attitude and aggressive pursuit of the BEST way to get the job done.

What do you consider top issues in the campaign? My No. 1 priority in this campaign is the ongoing modernization of the clerk's office.  

What problems, if any, does the circuit court clerk's office face? The main problem is modernizing the office while continuing to keep costs down and generate additional income. 

How would you help resolve those problems? I plan to resolve that problem by continuing to acquire grants to attain state-of-the-art equipment for the offices at no cost to the county and continuing the current initiatives which have generated over $500,000 in the past four years above and beyond the revenue brought in prior to my administration.

Are there ways the clerk's office could be run more efficiently? If so, how? Since taking office I have implemented many practices that have improved the efficiency of the clerk's office. I made Internet access available to the superior clerk's office for the first time. I acquired eight state-of-the-art Dell computers for the offices through grants — no cost to the county. I converted cumbersome, hand-written ledgers to computerized spreadsheets, saving time, increasing accuracy and eliminating the need to purchase $300-plus ledgers. I had it possible for Harrison County residents to make child support payments via the Internet. I micro-filmed various records dating from 1809 to 1994, submitted the micro-film to the state archives, a copy to the Harrison County Public Library and have a copy on CD in the clerk's office. I connected to state-wide marriage license, protective order and voter registration data bases. I installed the first fax and answering machines the circuit clerk's office ever had. The next major step in improving efficiency is the implementation of Odyssey, the state's online Case Management System, of which I am a member of the Governing Board.

What do you think the most important trait is for an officeholder to have? Why? The most important trait for an office holder to have is integrity. When dealing with court documents, child support and election materials, steadfastly adhering to high moral principals and professional standards is vital.

Other: I want to take this opportunity to thank my staff for all their hard work and service to the public over the past four years.  I and my staff look forward to the opportunity to serve Harrison County another four years.

Barbara J. Mathes, Dem.

Personal: Mathes, of Corydon, and her husband, Jesse, have three children, Debra, Charles and Carl, and nine grandchildren. A graduate of North Central High School, she is currently the Harrison County recorder and previously served eight years as the county's circuit clerk. Voters may contact her at 738-3702.

Duties of position: Filing and keeping court records — civil, criminal, divorce, juvenile, small claims, traffic tickets, marriage licenses, estates, passports, adoptions, and many other records. Collecting child support payments and overseeing/administering elections held in Harrison County.

Why are you seeking the office? I enjoy working with the public and serving the citizens of Harrison County. I also enjoy the many responsibilities and detail-oriented work found in the clerk's office. Lastly, I have a strong working relationship with both the superior court judge and circuit court judge.

What qualifies you for the office? I served as the circuit court clerk for eight years after serving previously as deputy clerk. While serving as clerk, I obtained computers for the superior court clerk's office, voter registration and child support.

What do you consider the top issues in the campaign? The top opportunity for the clerk's office is to install a new case management system. During my previous tenure as clerk, I initiated the case management system utilized in superior court. Installation of a new case management system will save Harrison County residents' time and money by granting access to non-confidential case histories for their home computers.

What problems, if any, does the circuit court clerk's office face? I am not aware of any major problems in the clerk's office. I would continue to ensure that any future elections held would be conducted in an efficient, organized and accurate manner.

How would you help solve these problems? I would verify that all voting machines provide an audit trail to ensure all votes are counted correctly.

Are there ways the clerk's office could be run more efficiently? If so, how? Again, I think that obtaining the new case management system could improve the overall efficiency of the clerk's office as well as strengthening its partnership with both the superior court and the circuit court.

What do you think the most important trait is for an officeholder to have? Why? Integrity. I think it is exceeding expectations of what is required; working well with both the superior court and the circuit court; partnering with other local government officeholders, and serving the public to the best of my ability.

Other: It has always been an honor to serve the residents of this county. I look forward to contributing to the future growth and success of Harrison County and I would appreciate your vote and support on Nov. 4, 2008.

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Schuler Bauer
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