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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Smith County District Clerk

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    Penny Clarkston (Rep) LEGAL ADMINISTRATOR

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    Dawn Colclasure (Rep) Chief deputy in County Clerks office

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    Theresa Morrow (Rep) Deputy District Clerk

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Biographical Information

What strengths do you bring to this position?

The current district clerk has served from 2003 to 2018. What, if any, changes do you think need to be made, implemented or keep.

Experience 35+ years working in the legal profession as a Legal Administrator/Paralegal
Education Graduated from John Tyler High School with Honors and 3rd in class; Business College Business Administration certificate; Certified as Legal Assistant in 1983
Campaign Phone (903) 920-9099
I have 35+ years of experience as a Legal Administrator/Paralegal. Being District Clerk demands strong leadership, management and organizational skills, including a financial/accounting background to be fiscally responsible. I bring these traits, my legal experience, my passion for the law,and my compassion for helping people, to the job. My experience includes Civil and Criminal Litigation (both state and federal), Patent, Real Estate, Estate/Probate, Oil & Gas and Appellate law. I bring a unique understanding of the various types of cases and documents filed, having sat on the other side of the desk. I understand the process and responsibilities of the Judges and staff in complying the Rules of Appellate Procedure. These unique qualities will enable me to lead a team that will provide the best customer service not only to the legal profession, Judges of Smith County and their staff, but to every person who calls or walks through the door of the District Clerk’s office daily.
The primary challenge is to maintain a fiscally responsible approach to managing the Civil and Criminal records of all Court proceedings. In-House legal education, cross-training and restructuring management are key - without spending taxpayers’ dollars. A virtually paper-less office is the way of the future, while maintaining the security and confidentiality of court records. The jury selection process must be improved upon and streamlined using new technology, thereby lowering costs. A more user-friendly process is important to the public as effective jury management and administrative support is the foundation for efficient, effective courtroom operations and demonstrates to the public their time and involvement is respected and tax dollars are well spent. The District Clerk’s office must be accessible and operational at all times to the public, staffed by a team of knowledgeable and fully trained employees in order to provide professional and courteous customer service.
Experience I have been in the County Clerks office since 2007, Chief Deputy since 2013. 2003-2007 co-managed with husband a million dollar revenue business. 1986-2003- manager with a major retailer.
Education I have attended numerous continuing education classes geared toward District and County clerk training including spring and fall conferences. County clerk and I hosted one last March.
Campaign Phone (903) 262-9950
Campaign Email
I started my career serving the citizens of Smith County in Land Records Department. I worked my way up to Chief Deputy because of my drive to succeed. I set high standards for myself and my staff and have taken ownership of the County Clerks office. I am a very strong leader who values our employees so that our turnover rate is very low. I submit the budget every year and keep the spending under control to come in under our budget. I have been working on a paperless office to cut back on spending, lowering our supplies budget. We no longer print citations, subpoenas, Writs, copies of records, or time sheets. I have been key in cross training our employees and creating a customer satisfaction survey to improve customer relations, as well as digitizing our procedures and putting them on a shared drive for our employees to access. I have very high moral standards and my ethics are unquestionable since I am a Christian. I made a promise to uphold the law and I do so every day.
Mrs. Rogers has done a fantastic job as District Clerk, but there are a few changes that need to be made. The daily processes need to be updated and shared with all employees, confirming all procedures follow the law. The employees will be cross trained and held accountable for their part in customer service, to include the professionalism of the office. The Archive Commission has given us a retention schedule for disposal of court papers and that process will be carried out. We will digitize everything we possibly can to save money and time making the office a more efficiently run business. Employee retention is very important as it costs too much money to hire and train new employees on a regular basis. Employees will be held accountable and re-trained when necessary to attempt to raise employee retention.
Experience I have worked as the AG Clerk, Child Support Clerk, Family and Civil Clerk, Appeals Clerk and currently the 241st Felony Clerk. I also have over 40 years of retail experience.
Education Associates Degree in Physical Education
Campaign Phone (903) 539-8530
Campaign Email
Twitter @110959mor
I have 11years experience in the District Clerk's office. I have worked in many courts. I am currently the 241st felony clerk. I know how the District Clerk's office operates on a daily basis. I issue subpoenas, warrants, notices, and precepts.I also do a monthly court cost report. I give cause numbers to all newly indicted cases. I scan all paperwork generated in court and get the paperwork ready to send inmates to TDCJ. I accept e-files on a daily basis. I enter bonds when received from Pre-trial. I help families and inmates with daily requests. I answer requests from outside agencies as needed. I work with Parole, probation as well as the Sheriff's office to ensure that all inmate information is current. I help other clerks as needed. Before coming to the District Clerk's office I worked at the Attorney General Child Support Division. I am a dedicated employee and I have the knowledge to make the office work. I am willing and capable of taking our office to the next level.
Lois Rogers has been a wonderful boss to work for. She has worked hard to get the District Clerk's office current with mandatory e-filing and becoming paperless in some courts. The goal of the District Clerk's office is for all the courts to become paperless in the near future, however, there are many factors that come into play before family and felony cases can become paperless I would improve on cross-training of all clerks. I would improve on better communication with all customers and attorneys that come into or call our office. I would make sure that all our clerks are current with all new rules and regulations passed by the State. I would make sure that we all get continuing education as we move forward with new technology. I will make sure that we stay within our budget and not have unnecessary purchases. We need a qualified person to lead the District Clerk's office to the next level and I know that I am the person for the job and I am ready to accept the challenge.