The circuit clerk's forum
was just as civil, if not more, as three friends -- Mary Kelley,
Suzann Maxheimer and Rachel Bunner -- who all currently work in the
circuit clerk's office, used their time to promote their strengths
rather than someone else's weaknesses, with a few comments politely
directed at each other.
In opening remarks Kelley said she has the
most experience of the three candidates, with 31 years, coming to
the job right out of high school. Kelley said she has been trained
in every aspect of running the clerk's office, citing that when
previous circuit clerks were absent, she took over as chief deputy
Maxheimer said she is the only candidate who has the experience
of being the circuit clerk, as she currently holds that office. She
said it is important to know what the priorities will be each day in
an ever-changing office.
Bunner stressed her education, citing she has a bachelor's degree
from LCU and has a diversity of experience in the clerk's office.
She also said she was honored to have been endorsed by the previous
Logan County circuit clerk, Carla Bender.
1. The question was asked of the candidates as to what they saw
as the chief concerns that face the office right now.
Maxheimer said the county has asked her office to cut their
budget by 5 percent, and that means looking at everything from
office supplies to renegotiating copier leases. "If we can save a
few dollars running out for something instead of having it
delivered, that's what we have to do," she said.
Bunner said she didn't see a huge concern, as the office had been
well-maintained under Bender's leadership for the past 17 years. She
said the staff members all know their jobs and the office has a
positive work flow.
Kelley decided to respond to her opponent's comments by saying
that the budget cuts were 3 percent, not 5 percent as stated by
Maxheimer. She says the abrupt departure of Bender was a shock to
the office. "The office is in disarray. (Staff members) are
wondering what is going to happen." Kelley also said that although
Bunner has a degree, she herself has 31 years of on-the-job
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2. The question was asked of all three candidates as to what
plans they have for running the clerk's office.
Bunner said that continuing the efficiency developed by Bender in
the office was important. And communication is important in an
unpredictable job, to help staff be prepared for what comes through
Kelley said first on her agenda was to work with the child
support division, as many recipients would like direct deposits made
available. She also wants the office to be "the most people-friendly
office we can be." The office also needs to help direct people to
where they need to go, with so many resources available that they
aren't aware of.
Maxheimer said it was important to have consistency in
maintaining the efficiency of the office, to "tweak" things, such as
improving the clerk's Web site, and give people more choices when
seeking help that isn't under the jurisdiction of the clerk's
3. When asked what leadership skills were necessary for the
position, Kelley said it was important to be a good leader and
respect the staff. "It's important to listen and understand," she
Maxheimer noted that all three candidates "bring a lot of
experience to the table." She said, "We all will work together."
Bunner said communication was a key, as well as managing your
time. "Prioritize, being committed, and have a good temperament and
be able to maintain your composure."
4. When all three were asked about maintaining the clerk's office
with current budget constraints, Maxheimer started by pointing out
to Kelley that the office was asked to cut expenses by 5 percent,
and the 3 percent number was the board's approval on pay raises. "We
need to look at every line item (on the budget) and get as close as
we can get," she said.
Bunner deferred the question, saying that whoever is elected
won't take office until December and only then can someone determine
what needs to be done, looking at the current situation.
Kelley said she planned to look at the budget closely to see what
can be adjusted.
The general primary election is Tuesday, Feb. 2.
For more information on the election and candidates, see the
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