Sunday, October 13, 2013

Familiar names seek nod for Clark clerk

Dems Fleece, Popp likely to square off in primary

JEFFERSONVILLE - Two experienced public servants will likely seek the Democratic Party's nomination to run for Clark County Clerk of the Circuit Courts next year.

Current County Council member Susan Popp and Clark County Senior Judge Steve Fleece have both said they anticipate running for clerk, a position held by Barbara Bratcher Haas. Haas says she will not run for re-election in 2014.

Neither of the two have submitted paperwork with Clark County Voter Registration yet, but both have said they anticipate doing so. No other candidates have announced they will run for the office to date.

The clerk's responsibilities include the administration of official court records of all 5s iphone cases names of baby animals quiz with jurisdiction in the county; preparing the courts' permanent historical records; processing and issuing documents for court cases; collecting and distributing monies related to court cases; and administering all federal, state, county, municipal and special elections, according to the website for the Association of Clerks of Circuit Courts of Indiana.


Fleece served as the judge of Superior Court 3 in Clark County for 24 years. Fleece retired in 2008, and has served the courts as a senior judge for the last five years.

"It just occurred to me that [the clerk's office is] a place that my experience would be especially useful, so that got me thinking about it," Fleece said.

He said he feels that his experience with the courts gives him an edge when it comes to finding solutions to problems within the clerk's office.

"I think there are some things that could be done that would occur to someone with judicial experience that perhaps wouldn't occur to somebody else," Fleece said.

As an example, Fleece noted that judges have the authority to draft local rules, and he'd be for a local rule that would automatically withdraw defense attorneys from criminal cases when they conclude, which would put an end to the paperwork associated with motions to withdraw.

Fleece says he's a proponent of upgrades to the technology used in the clerk's office to improve efficiency, and says digitization of documents would cut down on the amount of time needed to hunt down documents.

Fleece, now 63, describes himself as a "young senior." He doesn't picture himself seeking a second term if elected.

"I would say that if I do it, what I'd want to do is get in and give four excellent years of service and then be done, because I would be 68 at that time, and with the rapid changes in technology and all, at age 68 it would be time to hand over the reins," Fleece said. "Part of what I would be doing during the four years would be grooming a successor who would have the ability to get elected politically and also be well-trained in doing the job."

Fleece said that successor has not been identified.


Popp was elected to the Clark County Council in the 2012 election and began her four-year term this year. Popp cites her management experience working as a manager with Jim Beam Brands.

"I was actually a department head," Popp said. "I was manager of the process department, and we had a lot of moving parts."

Popp is grateful to have been elected to county council, and said that while she's grateful to the voters for entrusting that position to her, she felt compelled to pursue the opportunity.

"I believe I can get the things I want accomplished, accomplished prior to leaving [county council]," Popp said.

Popp recognizes that with a staff that's been reduced significantly and a tight budget, the clerk's office is one that faces a multitude of challenges, she said.

"It's not like some of the other departments where they serve a single function," Popp said. "Here, you have voter registration, you have the election, you have the clerk's office itself and then how it interfaces with the actual courts. You do have a lot of moving parts, and I'm familiar with all of those. I'm familiar with the people in the different departments that I would be interfacing with.

"I think one of the challenges is the lack of funds to fund the department. I think that would have its challenges. But I think it's something we can overcome."

Popp said technology can help to reduce costs and improve operations in the clerk's office, and noted that she believes optical image scanning to digitize courthouse documents could be done in-house with rented equipment to prevent the county from paying a larger sum to an outside vendor to perform the service.

The primary election will take place in May.

Source: Newsandtribune

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