Clerk of Superior and State Court Ruth Wilson recently announced she is running for re-election as a Democratic candidate.
Wilson, who is nearing the end of her first term in office, said she wanted to run for re-election to continue the efforts in making the Clerk of Courts office more efficient through technology.
"I want to expand the capabilities of this office by continuing to make use of technology. I want to continue to work with the wonderful staff we have here. This is a fabulous group of people that can do great things with the proper kind of leadership, and I believe I can provide the leadership."
She said running as an incumbent was much easier than running as a challenger, as she did in 2008, because "we've got a track record to point to. And it gives me an opportunity to brag about my wonderful team and what we’ve been able to accomplish since 2009."
Some of the accomplishments she points to include the establishment of online bill paying for traffic citiations and the creation of a Clerk of Courts website, rockdaleclerk.com
"We’re proud of our online payment of traffic citations. That’s something the public has been asking for many years.
"I positions us to be more accessible to the public. They can go online at their convenience and they don’t have to make a trip to the courthouse, burn their gas, take time off work. They can use credit cards online. It helps our office by reducing the amount of traffic at our service counters. We’re in the process of further refining the procedure so it reduces the amount of paperwork in our office."
She said the office is expanding resources for "pro se" filers, or people who handle their own legal matters because they cannot afford or choose not to use an attorney.
"We get calls all day, every day, asking us to give them legal advice, which we cannot do. What we can do is refer them to other resources."
One such resource is a dedicated computer at the Nancy Guinn Memorial Library on Green Street, said Wilson. The computer has pre-listed websites with basic instructional information on the legal system.
The biggest challenge facing the Clerk of Courts Office is the lack of space, she said.
"We are packed to the gills. We know we won’t have a new courthouse anytime soon. We’ve got to find ways to reduce paper. We are looking for technologies to reduce the amount of paper we receive and retained. Some of it has to be retained by law, but a lot of it can be handled electronically," she said.
She praised the work of former Clerk of Courts Joanne Caldwell, who served more than two decades from 1985 to 2008. "It was her foresight that resulted in the establishment of our state-of-the-art case management system. I’m grateful to her for that. What we’ve done is taken her foundation and built upon it. I think she’d be real pleased with what we’ve done."
Wilson, a former AT&T marketing executive, said there was a misconception in the public about the activities of the Clerk of Courts office.
"The biggest misconception people have is that all we do is file papers. There’s a lot more to it than that." She said a series of videos will be posted on her election campaign website, www.RuthforRockdale.com, explaining the functions and roles of the Clerk of Courts office.
Wilson grew up in St. Louis, Missouri but has been in the Atlanta area since 1973 and moved to Rockdale in 2004. She retired after 26 years with AT&T/Bell South.
She is a member of the current Leadership Rockdale class of 2012, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, a past regional officer of Jack and Jill of America and former Chairman of the Rockdale Democratic Party.
The formal announcement and kickoff for her campaign will be Tuesday, Feb. 21, 6 p.m. at Creolaise Ballroom and Bistro, 1161 Old Salem Road, Conyers.
Former County Legal Affairs Manager Holly Bowie announced last year she is running as a Republican candidate for the Clerk of Courts. Bowie had previously run for the office in 2008 but lost in the Republican primary.