Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Different Kind of Election

I’ve been deliberately holding off but it’s time to get busy. It’s election year, and a lot of offices are up for grabs.
Today I want to talk about the race for Bossier Parish Clerk of Court. A lot of people are a little unclear as to the duties of the Clerk of Court and they are manifold. This is one office that will definitely affect you if you live in Bossier Parish.
Do you vote? The Clerk of Court is the chief election official for the Parish. The Clerk is responsible for making sure those precincts are staffed and equipped, that they operate as prescribed by law for the hours prescribed. The clerk also tallies the totals to report to the Secretary of State.
Own property? Your deed and mortgage are recorded with the Clerk. The office has all property records from the inception of the parish in 1843, so the Clerk is also an archivist.
Getting married? Guess who issues your marriage license.
Getting Divorced? Guess where you file that lawsuit.
Need a Protective Order to deal with an abusive household member? You go to the Clerk of Court to get it in motion.
Criminal cases, ditto. Staffing each Civil and Criminal Courtroom and issuing subpoenas? The Clerk’s office.
Been summoned to serve on a jury? That too.
It goes on and on, and there is a lot of responsibility involved. My esteemed friend Marty Carlson had an article in the Bossier Press Tribune that also enumerates some of these duties. Marty is of the opinion that experience is a prerequisite to the office, and thus the title of this blog post. It is a different kind of election.
Before I get into it, please understand that I do not know at this point who I will support. This is a heads up election with three people whose qualifications are pretty well matched. In the past, this was a hand-me-down office. Since the 1930’s, in fact, the person elected had experience in that office.
Wilna Mabry was Chief Deputy to Mrs. Broussard, who was elected after her husband, the Clerk, passed away. By the time Miss Mabry ran for Clerk, she had decades of experience and had served for years as Chief Deputy.
Joan Carraway succeeded Wilna Mabry. Mrs. Carraway had decades of experience and had served for years as Chief Deputy.
Cindy Johnston, our current Clerk, ditto. Decades of experience in the office and years as Chief Deputy.
This is where the chain ends. There are three announced candidates for the office, and they are all good, capable people.
Cindy Johnston, for whatever reason, would not appoint a Chief. The current Chief Deputy, Jill Sessions, was just appointed in February at the time that Mrs. Johnston announced her retirement. She only has 8 years with the office, and has served in limited capacities, so it is not the level of experience that people have expected in the past.
Monica Hudson, who currently works for DA Schuyler Marvin as a victim’s rights advocate, also has almost 8 years experience with the Clerk of Court’s office, albeit in the past. She worked in the mortgage/conveyance end of it, and in the Civil and Criminal Departments.
The third candidate, Jimmy Franklin, is an attorney. He knows the functions of the Clerk’s office.
The experience that counts comes from the 35 deputy clerks who work in the office. For the most part, they are capable and some have the decades of experience that really does matter. These are the people who will make a new Clerk, whomever is chosen, a success.
I’ll be going into a lot more detail on the candidates, as well as candidates for the other offices that are in play, as time progresses.  In the meantime, I’ll keep an open mind. I hope you will too.
If you are a candidate for office and would like to address the voters with your platform for office, please send a few paragraphs to and we will publish it.  Attach a picture if you like and we’ll include it.


  1. Well said, Jim. I for one hope the campaign for Clerk Of Court does not descend into the gutter, as races for judge and state rep have in the recent past.
    As you said, the Clerk-elect, no matter who it is, will have a staff full of experienced deputy clerks to make things work. What that office has needed for some time is capable leadership, a capable manager who understands and embraces the special responsibility a public servant bears. I reiterate, it has been a while since we had that in the Bossier Clerk Of Court office.
    DeSoto Parish has a very capable Clerk who came from a private sector background. He succeeded a Clerk who came from a private sector background. The Red River Clerk of Court had not worked in the office before his election; he made advances in that office that would not have been made had the incumbent continued to hold that office back. Bienville Parish, too has a Clerk for Court who did not work in the office prior to his election.
    In Bossier, Tax Assessor Bobby Edmiston came to his service from a private sector background. I defy anyone to point to a more user-friendly Assessors office in North Louisiana!
    So, no, prior experience is certainly not a prerequisite for success in a managerial job such as Clerk Of Court. In fact, in many instances incumbency is precisely the problem! Some Clerks of Court take a definite adversarial attitude toward the public, and adopt a very defensive stance when presented with suggestions or questions.
    I hope Bossier's next Clerk will prove to be a break from the recent past. It appears we have three intelligent, motivated candidates. 'Bodes well for Bossier!

  2. I as a tax payer agree with the above statement! I would rather have a COLLEGE educated clerk of court with experience in not only the way the office functions but also with managerial Esperance. like Mr. Jim mentioned in his post ... "The experience that counts comes from the 35 deputy clerks who work in the office. For the most part, they are capable and some have the decades of experience that really does matter" ... which means a MANAGER is needed! Just because one may already be a "Deputy Clerk" does not mean one is the only one in the office.

  3. We need some new blood in this office! I vote to do away with this " Hand me down position". Really people how is this office (That effects all of us) going to be brought into the NEW TECHNOLIGICAL AGE if things are still being ran like Aunt B of Mayberry is still in charge!

  4. Hopefully they come out with some fliers or a website or something. I would like to know more about each candidate. I like to be informed before I vote.

    1. A.J. - As soon as they get websites up I will publish them, also more info soon. Thanks.

    2. Thanks Jim. Really appreciate what you do.

  5. Yea old Bobby that's the model we need.

  6. We need someone that doesn't have known close ties with criminals and drug dealers!

  7. We need someone who doesn't beat their momma and kick puppies.

  8. So, I am guessing that Jill, Franky and Monique all deal with criminals, drug dealers, mommy beaters and puppy kickers as they are all involved in court especially Jill. Now the BIG question is when is that 4th candidate going to step on up and announce. I can not wait!!!!!!!!!


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