Clerk of Superior Court race: Meet the candidates

Published 9:40 am Wednesday, May 8, 2024

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With the Troup County election nearing, it’s important to know who will be on the ballot. Incumbent Jackie Taylor and Nicole Gratton will be running against each other for the Troup County clerk of the superior court.

Taylor, a LaGrange native, has held the position of the clerk of the superior court for the past 24 years. Before that, she served as the chief deputy clerk. She became certified as a paralegal from Columbus State University and in 1993, she joined the office.

“It’s what I do,” Taylor said when asked what inspired her to run for another term. “And I have more to do.”

Gratton, also a Troup County native, works on the other side of the court as a victim advocate for the Troup County Solicitor’s office. She has served in that office for the past 3 years. Before that, she served as a paralegal in LaGrange and Newnan with a focus on divorce filings for 20 years.

Gratton said she has seen the court of the superior court from a different angle, and as an outside perspective, she plans to make positive changes.

“Once I had learned more about the clerk and all that the job entailed I was just super passionate about it,” Gratton said.

“Once I’ve decided to do something, I give it 100%,” She added.

Role for the community

Both candidates agree that the superior court is ever changing and that means the clerk needs to be able to adapt to that. For Taylor, those duties are important because what she and her staff do touches the lives of all the citizens.

“This job is ever changing because the legislature is the one who determines the responsibilities and the duties of the clerk,” Taylor said, adding that her office has to learn and keep up with all the new legislations that come up each year.

As a new perspective, Gratton said she plans to bring a focus on customer service, create a standard for more training and cross training in the staff and streamline processes by using technology.

First, Gratton said she would get rid of the automated answering machine and give citizens more direct access to the public service office with the hope that it will cut down on call volumes.

Gratton said that because the work is constantly evolving, the clerk and staff members should be as well.

“I believe that training is the utmost importance,” Gratton said.

As for utilizing technology, she said that the collection and distribution of money and other processes could be more efficient by moving to e-filing software and cutting down on handwritten checks.

Responsibilities of the clerk

The clerk of the superior court is responsible for keeping up with the documents for court from divorce, real estate, adoptions and juries to collecting court fees and fines and distributing money.

With all that being said, the clerk must have an attention to detail and an eye for efficiency. They must also be aware of the many facets of the office.

“There are a ton of responsibilities involved,” Gratton said. “And it takes somebody who is very detail oriented and is committed to making sure they’re all done and understands how much their job affects the overall system and county. So I think it’s a very underestimated position. I have a huge attention to detail.”

To demystify the role of the clerk, Taylor said that her job and the job of her staff has always been to be a trustworthy public service.

“It is personal and it is purposeful,” Taylor said.

Taylor describes herself as a “working clerk,” rather than an administrative head. She said even if they don’t always understand all her duties, she works hard to make sure citizens trust her to do them well.

“Everything we do has to do with one of our citizens,” Taylor added. “Sometimes it’s intimidating enough to come into an office like this so I make sure that everybody that comes here can be put as at ease as possible.”