The county clerks handle everything from traffic tickets to marriage licenses, and three of the four candidates vying for the position are associated with the clerk of courts and comptroller’s office.
Barry Brooks, a Democrat, has already been endorsed by the outgoing clerk Bob Inzer.
This isn’t sitting well with the other candidates.
“Well, that was a decision that was made two years ago when he brought him in,” said Democrat Bill Bogan in a phone interview back in May.
Here’s Bogan on Political Perspectives Tuesday:
“If I’m elected clerk, I’m not talking about using this office as a bully pulpit as Barry mentioned," Bogan says. "I’m talking about using this office to help make things different in this community.”
The candidates were discussing what their first action would be as clerk.
Bogan says he would do an internal evaluation of the office to see what needs to be improved.
He worked as the chief financial advisor for two clerks, including Inzer, for 13 years before becoming city manager of Quincy, according to his campaign website.
Brooks is the current director of the Process Improvement Department for Leon County clerk of court. He says he’s been working with other clerks throughout the state to improve budgets and relationships with the legislature, and he’s already started making the changes he’d like to see:
“So I’ve been participating in two different work groups with several clerks statewide and also several key staff," Brooks says. "Number one, to change the dynamics of the information, and as Bill indicated, the transparency that would provide to the (legislature) and the legislative staff to make a decision and also to develop a budget process.”
The third Democratic candidate is Member Services Manager Gwendolyn Marshall.
She’d also like to see an internal evaluation of the office, and she would turn to the public to see what they want out of the clerk of courts.
"I also would like to create canvassing boards and community engagement boards," Marshall says, "(to) see how the community would like to see their court house operated.”
The lone Republican in the race is Attorney Franklin Ayetin. He's the only candidate running that isn’t affiliated with the clerk of courts office.
Ayetin says the first thing he would do as clerk would be to help educate residents on what the clerk of courts and comptroller does.
“I think one of the things that the clerk’s office does need is a robust external affairs department," Ayetin says. "You mentioned earlier a lot of people don’t know what the clerk’s office does or why it touches their lives. I think we need people doing outreach. The clerk of courts office has a Facebook page...I don’t think that was created until 2015, which with technology, maybe pushing some of that stuff (and) explaining to people why this office is important."
He says this would help clerks push for higher budgets because the public would be on their side.
“That way when we do go to the legislature and we are fighting for increase in budget or the money that we do need, there’s also community support," he says. "People realize how much this touches their lives.”
Listen to the whole podcast here.
Political Perspectives will be interviewing candidates for local elections throughout July. Listen to the podcast live at 11 a.m. or at wfsu.org. The shows will also be broadcasted on Comcast channel 4.
Stay tuned for interviews with candidates for Leon County sheriff, superintendent and property appraiser this week.