Elmore looks back at long tenure as Clinton County Clerk

Posted January 3, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Jim Elmore, a Clinton County native and long time public servant, is now a “former” when it comes to putting his name on the title of County Court Clerk. Elmore, now 65, officially retired at the end of 2012, after having served in that position for some 23 years, over five and a-half terms in office.

Elmore was born and raised in Clinton County, attending Cave Springs and Five Springs schools and was a 1966 graduate of Clinton County High School. He received a Bachelor’s in Business, Accounting and Economics from Campbellsville College (now University) in 1971, then worked at Sutton Shirt Corp., Albany Loan and for 12 years at First and Farmers (then Citizens) Bank prior to being elected County Clerk in 1990.

Elmore reflected back on his 23 years in office during a recent interview just prior to his official retirement taking effect.

Elmore said a lot of people had encouraged him to run back when he was first elected to the office, saying he thought it would be a good opportunity to serve the county.

The now former clerk said that different things figured into his decision to retire now, noting his age, Social Security and retirement issues. “I always hoped I’d know when it was my time to go…and it’s time to go,” he said. He added it was time for a younger, experienced person with computer programming knowledge to run the office in this day and time. “The county clerk’s office will change drastically in the next few years, and whoever holds the office needs better capabilities of learning the new system.”

Elmore noted there were various duties in the county clerk’s office, some of which had been added over the years. Some of the more time consuming is vehicle registrations and titling. The office is also the custodian of county records, deeds, etc. and it is now responsible for preparing all tax bills. They also handle filing marriage licenses, hunting and fishing licenses, appeals assessments, record keeping (for the county fiscal court) and, by statute, county clerks are also the chairman or chief election officer on the county election committee.

“Vehicle registration and titling has changed drastically and more changes are coming in 2013,” said Elmore. Putting these records into the computer system is time consuming, so we ask people to be patient during the transition,” he said.

Recording of documents are handwritten and transferred to computer and imaging, he said. The clerk’s office is also responsible for delinquent property tax sales and bookkeeping in general has changed dramatically over the past couple of decades as well.

The now retired clerk, who has always noted since his announcement to step down that he would be available to assist in any way possible, held high praise for all of his “then” current as well as past employees in the clerk’s office, saying “I’ve always had the best.”

Two of the employees that worked along side Elmore from day one is newly-appointed clerk Shelia Braswell-Booher, as well as his wife, Diane, who will be staying on in the clerk’s office. He said both have been outstanding employees since day one.

Also employed in the office full-time is Jenny Johnson, who has been with the office the past six years. There are also three part-time employees, Georgia Patton, Nathan Collins and Katie Parrish, the latter who became full-time at the start of this year. “They all are very computer literate,” he said.

“I’ve had a few others (employees) over the years,” said Elmore, and they have all been good. “I’ve never had a bad employee.”

Elmore said the thing he would definitely miss the most about the position was the people. “I thoroughly enjoy working with the people of this county and consider each and every one a personal friend,” he added.

The former clerk admitted that the thing he would miss the least is “the headaches from Frankfort,” primarily referring to state bureaucracy and elections, noting that they have been made more complicated and expensive to clerks’ offices and county governments.

As far as his successor, Elmore has full confidence that Braswell-Booher will do a great job as county clerk, saying, “I wouldn’t leave if it (the office) wasn’t in very capable hands.”

When asked what he planned to do during retirement, Elmore (an avid angler) replied, “learning to fish again,” as well as taking care of his farm, and travel around the state and visit some old friends he has made in the past 23 years.

“I feel the office will continue on with what we have done the past 23 years, primarily to be fair and treat every citizen and taxpayer the way you would like to be treated,” Elmore said.

He said he had thoroughly enjoyed the time he has had serving Clinton County. “They (people) have been extremely good to me. I’m going to miss that a bunch.” Elmore concluded, “Hopefully I’ve made a small difference in the county and hope I’ve not disappointed very many people.”