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'New eyes' not working for clerk
I am a deputy clerk in the Island County Clerk’s office. I work daily with both Patricia Terry and Debra Van Pelt.
Patricia Terry was appointed to the position by the county commissioners when the office was vacated by the retiring county clerk late last year. The commissioners had a choice between an experienced deputy clerk (Debra Van Pelt), a local attorney and a person with a background in nursing. Unfortunately, they chose the person with the least amount of knowledge and experience in the legal field, the one with the nursing background.
In his letter to the editor, Jay Brand states that Patricia Terry has brought “new eyes” to the office. “New eyes” matter only if one has the requisite knowledge to “see the difference.” Ms. Terry has been in office for almost seven months, and she is still unable to perform the most basic of functions to serve the public.
Jay Brand also references a performance audit arranged by Ms. Terry. This “performance audit” was basically a group of Washington state county clerks who came to the office one weekend and offered advice about the running of the office. Not surprisingly, one of their recommendations was that the “county clerk needs to be trained in all aspects of her appointment and office. Necessary to learn what each staff member does.” To date she has not utilized her staff to help her learn the duties and functions of the office.
In contrast to Ms. Terry, Debra Van Pelt needs no such training. She has over five years’ experience working in the clerk’s office. She knows and understands the needs of the office, the public and the law and justice community. She is respected by her co-workers, is a team player and ready to step in as team leader.
With the current budget constraints it is imperative that our county clerk be able to perform any of the functions of the office at a moment’s notice. The clerk’s position pays about $70,000 per year ... that is a lot of money for on the job training to transition a nurse to a county clerk. In my opinion, the taxpayers of Island County deserve more for their money than what they are currently getting.
I encourage everyone to visit debravanpelt.com. Note especially the endorsements that Debra has received from the local law and justice community. These people know what it takes to be a successful clerk.
Vicky Lee Carter