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This is the first of eight question and answer sessions with candidates who have opposition in the Nov. 6 general election. This week the candidates for county clerk are featured. The candidates are listed in alphabetical order by last name.

Sandy Jones

Brief bio:

It has been my privilege and honor to serve the residents of Woodford County as county clerk since I was elected in 2014. I have always lived in Woodford County and being able to serve in this capacity was a perfect way for me to give back to the community I love and call home. This desire for me to be a public official began many years ago when I was a deputy clerk in the circuit clerk’s office. From there, I acquired 25 years of legal experience working in law firms in Lexington and Louisville. During this time of working as a legal assistant and paralegal, I received valuable experience and training that equipped me with the qualifications and leadership ability to come home to work in the Woodford County Courthouse once again. In 2008, I became the Woodford County Fiscal Court Clerk and gained essential knowledge of county government and a comprehensive understanding of how a county clerk’s office is intersected into county government. It was during this time period I realized my years of experience and desire to serve my home county as Woodford County Clerk would be the opportunity I had always imagined as my way to serve.

Why do you want this job?

To be brief and concise, I bring to the table my record of solid accomplishments and experience. Only valuable experience in this office and experience in county government will guarantee this office will continue to be in total compliance with all county ordinances and mandated laws of the State of Kentucky. I am the incumbent Woodford County Clerk and was elected to serve Woodford County in 2014. I want to be re-elected to this constitutional office as county clerk for many reasons, the first being that every previous job in my lifetime has prepared me with the skills to serve as county clerk. The office of a county clerk serves more citizens of Woodford County than any other county office, and this position gives me the satisfaction and opportunity to make a difference in the county I love to serve. The daily interactions that I enjoy with the citizens of Woodford County are the most fulfilling part of this position. My previous experience combined with my passion to offer extraordinary customer service to the citizens of Woodford County equips me with the skills and desire to be re-elected to serve as Woodford County Clerk once again.

What are the most important duties of a county clerk?

The identification of important duties of this office is difficult to define in the fact there are numerous, required important duties. However, if categorized as being important and continuous, the most important duty of a county clerk should always be the proper and accurate collection and distribution of ad valorem taxes on motor vehicles; all revenue from motor vehicle registrations, licensing, and transfers; filing fees and real estate transfer taxes paid in the Land Records Department; and, additional fees from miscellaneous services. The importance of this primary function of the office was evidenced by the outstanding 2016 audit from the Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts reported on the Woodford County Clerk’s office reflecting a revenue of $6.4 million dollars last year through fees and tax collection for state, county, city, school and special taxing districts. The second most important role of a county clerk is administering election laws and registering voters within the county. I work daily as an election administrator performing my duties as an unbiased, non-partisan person who is there to work for all parties with no partiality.

What will you do to ensure Woodford County elections are untainted by outside forces or partisanship?

I demonstrate my nonpartisanship daily as an election administrator and county clerk as I perform my duties as an unbiased clerk who is there to work for all parties with no partiality. Secondly, the county clerk retains custody of all voting machines acquired by the county except when they are in use at an election pursuant to KRS 117.135. This statute requires that I, as Woodford County Clerk, ensure the voting machines are properly protected and preserved from damage or unnecessary deterioration and that unauthorized persons are not permitted to tamper with them. As chair of the Woodford County Board of Elections, I bring the review of the Security and Protection Policy before the board yearly as required by law for evaluation to ensure we are doing everything within our authority to preserve the operation and security of all voting machines. The voting machines are always protected from any outside force for the simple fact they are never interfaced with an internet connection. All votes are recorded on a removable MBB card that is locked with a recorded seal number. This seal is not broken until after all votes are recorded and the machine is in a closed status.

(Editor’s note: This answer was condensed, as it exceeded 200 words.)

How will you run the county clerk’s office in a transparent fashion?

For the purpose of being transparent, all elected county officials must comply with financial disclosure requirements that are mandated in the Code of Ethics and KRS 65.003. In reference to revenue transparency, quarterly reporting of the financial status of a county clerk’s office is a required method to detect any financial discrepancy or unwise expenditures and to report total revenue received in a county clerk’s office, all of which are reported in the Quarterly Financial Statement and filed with the Department of Local Government. The quarterly report discloses all funds collected, received, held, or disbursed during that quarter and is presented to the fiscal court for review and acceptance into the court record and made available to the public. Additionally, portions of the clerk’s annual audit, prepared by the Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts in accordance with KRS 43.070 or 64.810, is also made available to the public and published within 30 days of the presentation of the audit to the county clerk.

Kent Miller

Brief bio:

Lifelong residents of Woodford County, Libby and I raised our children here and are proud and blessed to be Woodford Countians. I graduated from WCHS in 1980 and attended Eastern Kentucky University. I began my management career with McDonald’s in 1981 helping to open the Versailles store where I eventually became store manager. From 1986-1996, I worked at Woodford Bank and Trust as a teller, loan officer and eventually branch manager, and gained valuable career experience in banking and retail customer service. In 1987, Libby Nave and I married and will celebrate 32 years this January. From 1992-2003, I served as volunteer and staff with the music department of Centenary United Methodist Church, Lexington, and from 2003-2013 served as the music director for Versailles Methodist Church. In 2000, I started with Bluegrass.org in the finance department and went back to school in 2002 earning my bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management from Midway University in 2006. In 2013, I earned certification as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). Currently I serve as the Associate Corporate Director of Human Resources for Bluegrass.org, overseeing the HR functions of 2,000 employees in 21 Kentucky counties.

Why do you want this job?

At heart, I am a leader and a problem solver, always seeking improvement, and I want to be an active participant in new ideas and bold solutions. I am convinced my extensive education, training and experience in human resources, personnel management and supervision, finance and accounting, and experience working with state and local agencies will enable me to raise the Woodford County Clerk’s office and staff to a higher professional level and provide citizens with the quality services they need and deserve. My years of leadership and management experience have prepared me for this position. I feel a sense of duty and I want to serve this community in the hope of returning a small portion of what this community has given to me and my family. That’s why our campaign is about “We the people” and not a political party. It’s about fostering a friendly, helpful, informative environment that meets peoples’ needs, and I eagerly look forward to serving all the residents of our great county, regardless of party affiliation.

What are the most important duties of a county clerk?

The Constitution of Kentucky sets forth the duties of the county clerk. The recording and storing of permanent records of legal instruments relating to real estate, liens, and use of personal property as well as the registration of all motor vehicles and other personal property, comprise most of the day to day operations. These duties are further defined by the Secretary of State, and the Departments of Transportation, Revenue, and Library and Archives. Of all the duties of the Clerk’s office, none is more vital than the administration of election laws and registering and purging of voters within the county. Our election system is the foundation or our republic, and as such, demands fairness and efficiency without partisanship to ensure the integrity of each vote. As the chair of the County Board of Elections, the county clerk has no greater responsibility than the oversight of elections. And while KRS defines the duties of the office, it does not define their manner of delivery. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and all manner of transaction will be conducted in a friendly, professional manner.

What will you do to ensure Woodford County elections are untainted by outside forces – or partisanship?

As set forth in KRS 117.135, the county clerk must retain custody of all voting machines acquired by the county except when they are in use during an election. The clerk is charged with seeing that the machines are properly protected and preserved from damage or unnecessary deterioration and that unauthorized persons are not permitted to tamper with them. Poll workers will be selected fairly and trained properly to assist in enforcing law and order at the polls and all deputy clerks will receive the same training. On election day, the County Board of Elections must stay in session to correct clerical errors and to rule on questions regarding voter registration and to make certifications to the board as necessary. The processes and procedures for the preparation of voting machines and paper ballots is clearly defined in KRS and will be followed to the letter to preserve and protect the sanctity of the process and the votes of our citizens.

How will you run the county clerk’s office in a transparent fashion?

To be transparent means to be free from pretense or deceit; to be readily understood. It is characterized by accessibility of information in business or government. Transparency is government’s obligation to share information openly with citizens. Governments exist to serve the people, and information regarding how officials conduct the public business and spend taxpayers’ money should be readily available.

Although states and levels of government have differing laws and obligations regarding transparency, local governments may utilize tools like transparency checklists. For example, one such checklist, created by Sunshine Review, is a 10-point list of website transparency features available to citizens when they visit government or business websites. By modernizing technology systems in the clerk’s office, we may utilize tools like this, along with adherence to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to ensure the business of local government is open and transparent.

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