Clerk Race: Taylor and Gratton lay out cases for Superior Court Clerk

Published 10:30 am Thursday, May 2, 2024

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Two candidates are running for Clerk of Superior Court. Both candidates made their cases for the position during the election forum hosted by the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce on April 25.

Incumbent Superior Court Clerk Jackie Taylor is being challenged by Nikki Gratton.

The forum was organized by the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce and live-streamed by The LaGrange Daily News. Videos of the forum in its entirety, including other races, are available on both the Chamber and LDN Facebook pages.

Taylor has been the Clerk of Superior Court for 24 years and served as the Chief Clerk of Superior Court for eight years.

Gratton has been a paralegal for a little over 20 years and also served as a victim’s advocate with state court.

Each candidate was given 90 seconds for each question, with two minutes for an opening and closing statement.

Some of the questions covered in the forum include:


Jackie, you’ve been in office since 2000. Why are you seeking re-election and why do you think you’re the best candidate for that position?

“It’s what I do and I love it. It’s embedded and each year, I don’t know, it just keeps getting stronger with the drive,” Taylor said.

“[There’s] no place better than the clerk’s office. My staff is amazing. I’ve got a young staff. My long-term employees have retired, so I have a young staff, but they’re coming together. They’re starting to really just step up and mesh and I’m so proud of that.”

Nikki, you’re running against an incumbent who’s been in office for 24 years, what prompted you to run now and why are you the best candidate?

What originally prompted me was that I had heard our clerk was retiring. As I began looking into the office of clerk and with the experience that I’ve had, I’m familiar with the court system.  I’m familiar with the filing and what all is entailed and then being in state court, I became more familiar with other parts of the justice system. I absolutely love the justice system,” Gratton said. “I feel like I’m qualified for this position. Because I do love the justice system, I am familiar with our court systems and the judges and other things in our circuit.”

“I love our community and I absolutely love people. I know it’s about documents, but it’s also about serving our community,” Gratton said.


What steps should be taken to modernize and streamline the process within the Clerk of Courts office?

“The first thing I believe we need to do to streamline is in the financial aspects of our software. It’s my understanding we still currently handwrite checks. I believe that is highly outdated in the society and the technology we’re in now,” Gratton said. “It would cut down on the amount of time. If you’re writing a check and then entering it into a system, you’re double-working. It would streamline that but also in regard to being able to audit and balance and see what finances are actually going on.”

“As far as modernizing, I think you could say that every clerk’s office in this state could be more modernized. They are not always enough funds,” Taylor said. “The Clerks Authority provides me with every PC that I have, every scanner, every copier, because they saw in the beginning when technology was going to come in with the computers, and they also saw that we had to protect our data.”

“It’s a separate entity, but they work in conjunction with clerks to make our job easier. It’s just phenomenal how much the county does not have to spend on technology,” she said.


How would you ensure that required reporting from the office is done in a timely manner?

“I believe that is about having lots of tickler systems. I believe in keeping your calendar electronically as well as making sure that you mark those out on whatever your system is,” Gratton said.

“I’ve been a victim advocate. I have been responsible for ensuring that my reports are turned in on time I have not been late once. In that, I keep at my desk at my fingertips what reports are due on what days. I do believe that it’s about finding out what works best for your own personal preference. I also believe in making sure that you have reminders because none of us are perfect. I also think that turning things in early is never a bad thing,” Gratton said.

“I wish everything in our office was scanned on computers. We have all that in the office that they can come in if they don’t know how to use the computers we show them. We also show you how to go to the books because there’s quite a bit of books in my office,” Taylor said.

“I’ve seen through the years, we need more staff. We need more staff in the office. The caseload is tremendous. The more crime in this community, it’s just growing,” Taylor said.

“So the thing about having somebody to come behind you, yes. Or to remind you, yes. But all of us are just [over] worked. I’m a working clerk. Some clerks are in big metro areas and stuff like that don’t but I am a working clerk. I work right along the side any area in my office that needs somebody.”