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What Do Circuit Clerks do?

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Although a lack of space unites three vastly different counties, these circuit clerks have another thing in common.

They all love their jobs.

Kanawha County Circuit Clerk Cathy Gatson described her 20 years at the circuit clerk's office as "challenging and rewarding."

And Wood County Circuit Clerk Carole Jones said when she comes into the office, she never knows exactly what she will be doing. But she wouldn't have it any other way.

"That's what keeps it interesting," she said. "But that's also what keeps it stressful.

Pendleton County Circuit Clerk Shalee Dunkle Wilburn said she loves helping out the community.

 "We like it and we like the small town and all of our folks and friends," Dunkle Wilburn said. "You really feel like you're helping. We try to go above and beyond because we care about them."

Circuit clerks can be more out of the spotlight compared to other state officials Gatson said some people may not even know what they do.

So what exactly does a circuit clerk do?

Here are just a few duties Gatson described.  

  • They are the official record keepers for family and circuit courts.
  • They serve as a fee officer for the court. They receive and disburse all collections that come into the court such as fees, fines and court restitution.
  • They serve as jury manager for the court system. "All juries selected and summons for use in the circuit court and municipal courts are summoned by this office," Gatson said.
  • Circuit clerks also house records for mental hygiene facilities. "If they are voluntarily committed to state institutions for drug or alcohol abuse or they have mental disabilities, we serve as the record keeper for that office too."
  • Clerks operate the court's automated case docketing system. "This is a shared system used by everyone in the court system," she said.
  • They submit monthly reports to the state Supreme Court for all circuit court judges. The Supreme Court maintains these reports in a statewide database.

What does the future of circuit clerks look like? Well, Gatson envisions them having broader roles, in some instances acting as a web manager.

"We could provide information or copies of documents to the public, the bar and the press by electronic means," she said.