Jenkins, Patterson seeks Clerk of Courts post

Published 10:32 am Friday, October 31, 2008

The current Rome Township fiscal officer and a social worker who bears a well-known political last name are vying to be the next Lawrence County Clerk of Courts.

The office opened up after the incumbent clerk, Republican Les Boggs, decided not to run for re-election this fall, choosing instead to go after one of two seats open on the county commission.

Now Cheryl Jenkins wants to keep the GOP’s hold on the office as she faces Democrat Mike Patterson, whose father, the late George Patterson, was the longest-serving commissioner in county history.

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Jenkins says her experience in the corporate and business worlds make her background a perfect match for the job of clerk. She spent 20 years with Ashland Inc., the area’s only Fortune 500 company, as a paralegal, office manager and sales rep.

Among her duties was writing the crude oil contracts for the purchases and exchanges of crude for the refinery. She left Ashland to work as regional sales manager for the Great Lakes region for Clark Material handling, a forklift manufacturer headquartered in Lexington.

When she came back to the Proctorville area, she took over as a district manager for Avon, supervising 350 independent sales reps. Recently, she completed training at the Ohio Leadership Academy, a series of continuing education classes that focuses on public records and state finance laws.

“The duties of this office parallels my work experience,” Jenkins said. “I know my skills and work experience can be used toward the duties of this office for the people of Lawrence County. I want the best for our community and our county. I feel our community and county should benefit from professional corporate training and skills.”

Making the office easier for the public to navigate is one area she says she would address if elected.

“I would like to enhance the access to information about the office, to make it easier for the public to transact business,” she said. “I would like to expand the Web site and make information more accessible so people who come to transact, whether it is titles or the legal functions, they are prepared when they come. They don’t have to make return trips because of lack of information or lack of documents. They would know what they need.”

Patterson cites his father’s political career as the inspiration for his throwing his hat into the ring now. He had considered the clerk’s post four years ago, but when George Patterson sought re-election as a commissioner, his son bowed out.

“I have always had the desire to run for office,” Patterson said. “My family has been in politics for over 20 years.”

For the past four years he has served as an income maintenance worker for the county’s Department of Jobs and Family Services determining the Medicaid eligibility of its clients. Before that he ran a transfer station in Pike County handling its daily finances and was a purchasing agent for CJ Hughes, a pipeline construction company.

“As far as dealing with paperwork and money situation like I did with the transfer station, I am qualified,” he said. “And doing the paperwork here, dealing with people’s resources qualifies me to do that. My qualifications are from work experience.”

Patterson said neighboring counties are getting car title revenue that belongs here and he wants that changed. The answer would be better communication between the office and local dealerships, he says.

“We are losing. Different dealerships are taking titles to different counties,” he said. “People are going to Scioto and Gallipolis. It’s sitting down with the dealership and what their problems are. Why not process here. There has to be communication to get the money back where it belongs.”

Both candidates vow to be what they call “a full-time clerk.”

“The staff is very efficient,” Jenkins said. “It would be my goal to work with them closely on a daily basis and work right along with them. … be a working clerk of courts.”

“It needs to be a full-time job,” Paterson said. “If I am elected, I would sit down from the job I am at now and be a full-time clerk of courts.”