Candidates Should Do Their Research

By ANN MILLER ROBINSON,

Okay, I was hoping not to see the same kind of misleading, disingenuous and even totally incorrect information that was prevalent in the election eight years ago. Any citizen has the right to inspect public records. I’m not telling anyone who they should vote for - that is strictly a personal decision according to your own conscience and beliefs - that said, I feel political statements should be truthful and transparent - insinuations, innuendoes, false information and false beliefs have no place in a campaign. I personally believe a recent newspaper campaign statement has allowed exactly those things to take place. I have no confidence in a candidate that uses such tactics whether deliberate or through ignorance. Maybe my opinion and judgments are faulty - if so go and check the facts for yourself.

The quotes are statements made by a candidate for Circuit Clerk - the comments below each quote are mine.

(1). “Bring the Circuit Clerk’s office into compliance with the State Audit Department. The office has not been in compliance for nearly 15 years.”

FACT: Minor points/ infractions such as not making a daily deposit can be noted as non-compliance - is it necessary to make a deposit of small amounts such as $25.00? Have you actually looked at the reports? Are there major infractions or is it just minor, nitpicking items - after all if the auditors find nothing to report they’ll probably end up without a job! If there were serious infractions or unlawful behavior we would certainly know it and probably some would be in jail.

2) “Bring integrity and accountability to the Circuit Clerk’s office.”

FACTS : Beth Doggett Jordan has been judged qualified and competent by the voters of Clarke County as Circuit Court for 37 years, after having worked in the office under the previous Clerk for five years. It’s a FACT she received 66% of the votes in the last election. Both of her employees have a decade and a half working in the Clerk’s office... that includes one of the candidates in the upcoming election. I believe, and evidently a large majority of the voters also believe, there has been and still remains both integrity and accountability in the Clerk’s office.

(3). “make timely restitution payments to victims”

FACT: This issue was raised in the last election and the facts are the same. I personally walked into the Clerk’s office and asked to review files. My search showed numerous files with nothing but the victim’s names. No addresses for victims furnished by the District Attorney’s Office. If the victim is not a local resident or personally known how do they send restitution? Are you aware that ordering the payment to make restitution to a victim does not guarantee immediate payment? Restitution is only paid when the defendant has paid the Court all fines and court costs in full first. If the defendant is incarcerated it can be years before any payments are made. If a victim is owed restitution why not contact the Clerk’s office and ask if it’s been paid. If I’m due restitution I’d make sure they had my contact information.

(4). “Refund bond money to people on a timely basis”

FACT: You are informed at the time you make a cash bond that if the person is not indicted or is found not guilty that you will receive all except $10.00 of the money you paid for the bond. If there is a guilty verdict or the person pleads guilty, the money is paid on the fines assessed by the Court. I can personally vouch for the fact the money is returned promptly. In fact I was refunded bond monies immediately after the Court said there was no indictment returned upon the person I bonded.

(5). “Make settlements to Clarke County and the State of Mississippi on a timely basis”

FACT: Settlements are made every month to the County and the State..... and the Clerk uses an impartial, reputable, established accounting firm for all the accounts of the office.

6). “Prepare sentencing orders on convicted felons on a timely basis. This will save Clarke County thousands of dollars each year.”

FACTS: Sentencing orders are promptly prepared and submitted after each court term ends. Some terms last for two weeks. Sentencing orders are not submitted immediately after a trial has ended in case there are changes made to the sentence...... submitted only after the term has ended. Court terms traditionally end on Friday, orders are immediately being prepared on the following Monday and submitted to MDOC within 2 to 3 days.

It is a FACT that some convicted persons are held in the county jail for days, weeks and even months because MDOC does not have space (ie: beds) available, but it is also a FACT MDOC has to reimburse Clarke County. My question is exactly how you are saving Clarke County thousands each year?

(7). “Properly train my staff so they are able to perform all duties of this office.”

EXCUSE ME! Who will PROPERLY train you? Are we to believe the Clerk’s staff is incompetent after both have over a decade and a half experience working in that office? Do you really believe if the good folks around here were receiving substandard service they would just “put up with it”?

(8). “Comply with all the laws of the State of Mississippi”

Of course the Circuit Clerk and staff are expected to comply with the laws of our state........ did you really mean to imply incompetence and malfeasance on the part of the current Clerk and staff? If our current Clerk and her staff failed to comply with state laws or failed to promptly and properly perform the duties of the office, she and her staff would either be in jail or unemployed.

(9). “Immediately start using the Delta computer system as required by the State of Mississippi”

FACT: The Delta computer system has been in use in the Clarke County Circuit Clerk’s office since 2007.

(10). “Maintain and promote a professional working relationship with the election commissioners.”

It is my understanding and belief that the relationship between the Circuit Clerk and the Election Commissioners has been professional. In my contact with them at Poll Workers training sessions it also appears to be a cordial relationship.

Ann Miller Robinson