If you”re unhappy with Oktibbeha County”s current circuit clerk, you”re going to have a hard time choosing who to vote for as her successor.
The one thing all the candidates vying to follow Angie McGinnis have in common is a mutual admiration for the job she”s done over the past 22 years:
“She”s done an excellent job, in my opinion. We need to trust that the circuit clerk”s office will run as smoothly when she”s gone with the next person coming in,” said Teresa Davis-Roberson.
“(If elected) there will be no radical changes (in office personnel or policy). I don”t see the need for them. Mrs. McGinnis has done a very satisfactory job,” said Glenn Hamilton.
“Angie has done a great job. I want to continue what she started,” said Dave Holley.
“The circuit clerk”s office is an exceptional office right now. It”s very well maintained and one of, if not the, top in the state. It would be my goal to maintain that,” said Debra Prisock Wood.
The closest any of the candidates came to criticizing McGinnis was Dorothy Isaac stating that, if elected, she would post voting precinct maps in the circuit clerk”s office.
McGinnis announced earlier this year she would not seek another term.
Davis-Roberson, 34, is the youngest candidate in the field of circuit clerk hopefuls but believes her management, financial and organizational experience combined with her people skills are up to the task of succeeding McGinnis.
Davis-Roberson currently works as receiving services coordinator for Mississippi State University, but she has experience in banking, customer service and teaching. The Sturgis native graduated from MSU in 2000 with a degree in accounting.
“Circuit clerk is a position in which you have to meet deadlines. That person should have plenty of experience working on deadline, a sense of independence and the capability to assume any position in the office needed at a given time,” said Davis-Roberson. “With the experience and training I”ve had, I think I”m best qualified.”
Davis-Roberson is a Democrat.
Hamilton, 55, a former two-term state senator and former chairman of the Mississippi State Parole Board, has also served as marketing director for the state”s Agriculture and Commerce Department and spent a short time with the Mississippi Department of Transportation.
And after all that, the Oktibbeha native wants more.
“I would like to continue in the field of public service. I feel like, at my age, I have several more good years left in me. I see this as a great opportunity to continue in a productive manner at home to serve my county,” said Hamilton.
Naturally, Hamilton, a Republican, believes his time in the state Legislature, serving on key committees, provides him with the depth and breadth of legal knowledge necessary to keep the circuit clerk”s office compliant with all state regulations. He worked with circuit clerk”s from all 82 counties during his time on the parole board, as well as circuit court judges, district attorneys, investigators and the governor.
“There”s very little room for error in that office. It”s trusted with public funds, works with the courts and handles elections,” he said.
Holley, 48, worked with the circuit clerk for years from a different angle as an investigator for the district attorney”s office of the 16th District Circuit Court.
Prior to his time with the DA”s office, Holley worked for a federally funded drug task force which operated in multiple counties and spent some time as an investigator with the Starkville Police Department. All told, he has 22 years of experience working with various courts in some capacity.
“This is a very important position in this county, especially with redistricting. We need someone who knows the current laws,” said Holley. “I”ve worked closely with Angie for the last 11 years. I was in her office almost daily. I already know the computer systems used by the county and by the state.”
Holley, a Democrat, said pending redistricting and the recent addition of a third circuit court judge for the area necessitate McGinnis” successor be up to speed when they take over in January.
“There”s also a large amount of money owed to the county in delinquent court costs. I have a way we can collect those with little to no cost to taxpayers,” he said.
Isaac, 52, brings yet another perspective to the race for circuit clerk, She”s spent a significant amount of time in court as a spectator, supporting young members of the community whose lives have gone awry and learning the ins and outs of the legal process.
The lifelong Starkville resident”s career has been spent in retail, currently as a sales clerk at Tuesday Morning and formerly as a department manager at Walmart. But her passion is community activism, which includes another unique perspective on a circuit clerk-related duty.
“I”ve been going out to get people registered to vote since I was 9 years old. I worked with Dr. D.L. Conner,” she said.
Isaac, a Democrat, wishes to simplify the voting process as much as possible, providing clear instruction on how to register and where to vote.
“If elected, I will have meetings with people to let them know where to go vote at and let them know there”s always a friendly face at the circuit clerk”s office. I will have diagrams in the office to show them,” said Isaac.
Debra Prisock Wood
Prisock Wood, 55, is already a certified court clerk, serving as Starkville Municipal Court clerk since 1991.
As a military wife, the Mississippi University for Women graduate was used to frequent address and job changes prior to returning home to Starkville. She served in customer service at the base PX, or Post Exchange, and spent a little time in banking.
Since her husband retired, Prisock Wood has worked for the municipal court and hopes to apply her experience to the next level.
“At the municipal court, I automated that office and then converted it to another system and maintained that system until the city hired an IT department,” she said. “As a certified court clerk, I”m required to receive a certain amount of training each year and have in excess of 500 hours of training.”
She said keeping track of more than $1 million each year in municipal court fines and fees has prepared her to take over for the county court system.
Prisock Wood is a Democrat.
Jason Browne was previously a reporter for The Dispatch.