Commissioners appoint Koetje as new clerk

There’s a new county clerk in town.

Jane Koetje, a 23-year veteran of the Island County public defender’s department, was recently appointed to the position vacated last month by Marilee Black.

Black, who had served as Island County clerk since she was first elected in 1974, decided to take early retirement. She and her husband have moved to Arizona.

While Koetje said that she is still acquainting herself with the responsibilities of her new position, she added that she has a “very good understanding of why we’re doing what we’re doing.

“It’s a huge responsibility,” she said of her new job, “and I wouldn’t have applied for it if I didn’t feel I was able (to do it).”

Koetje, a Republican, was one of three candidates appointed by the local Republican party to assume the position of county clerk. The other candidates were Island County chief deputy clerk Sharon Franzen and local paralegal Julie Hammond.

In being selected, the three candidates underwent a multi-tiered interview process, with the final decision resting with the Island County Board of Commissioners.

“I think Jane was a good choice,” said Commissioner Bill Thorn of the board’s ultimate decision. “We felt that she was very well qualified.”

Thorn added that Koetje is “intimately familiar with the majority of things that go on in (the clerk’s) office.”

Koetje was sworn in at a regular commissioner’s meeting on Oct. 8, with county auditor Suzanne Sinclair witnessing.

Following her swearing in, Koetje said that she went straight to work, traveling that same day to Port Ludlow to attend a three-day meeting of the Clerks’ Association.

Koetje said that she is currently acquainting herself with the clerk’s department by reading up on her duties and responsibilities every night, and that the weeks since her appointment have been both hectic and enjoyable.

“I am thoroughly enjoying every day,” Koetje said, adding that the staff of the clerk’s office have been “a terrific asset” to her.

“I couldn’t do it without them,” she said.

Koetje will finish out the rest of Black’s term, through December of 2002, at which point she said that she plans to run for re-election.

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