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By COLLEEN MCCARTHY
Since the November general election, Glen Hamilton has been busy making sure he‚Äôs ready to take over the Oktibbeha County circuit clerk‚Äôs office in January.
‚ÄúI‚Äôve been going into the office at every opportunity that I have,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúThe office staff has been the most hopeful, explaining the various job duties (and) the calendar of events.‚ÄĚ
Hamilton said there is a lot to learn before Angie McGinnis leaves office at the end of the month. The circuit clerk has a long list of responsibilities including managing all of the elections, pulling juries for all of the courts in the county, issuing marriage licenses and handling civil and criminal court.
‚ÄúAlong with that comes a tremendous amount of responsibilities, from working with the district attorney‚Äôs office, all the judges and their staff, general attorneys and making sure all the records are kept ‚ÄĒ that they‚Äôre in the right file, that they‚Äôre there (and) making sure all of the exhibits are secure,‚ÄĚ McGinnis said. ‚ÄúIt may not sound like a lot, but it is.‚ÄĚ
Hamilton spent last week at the Mississippi Judicial College with newly elected circuit and chancery clerks from around the state to learn about all his new responsibilities. The conference included training and presentations from the secretary of state, an auditor and representatives from the state supreme court.
‚ÄúIt was extremely informative, but it‚Äôs quite a bit to digest in such a short period of time,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúBut it also gave me a chance to ask questions and put it in perspective.‚ÄĚ
Hamilton said although he has a lot to learn, he‚Äôs looking forward to serving in public office again. After owning his own business for 13 years, he became the marketing director for the Mississippi Commission of Agriculture. He‚Äôs also served as a state senator and was chosen by Gov. Haley Barbour to serve as chairman of the Mississippi Parole Board.
‚ÄúIt was an honor to serve in the state Senate and an honor to be chosen to serve by Haley Barbour, but to be elected by the people I‚Äôve known and grown up with here in Oktibbeha County is just a huge honor,‚ÄĚ Hamilton said. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm excited and looking forward to serving the people in Oktibbeha (and) providing a professional and courteous service.‚ÄĚ
Hamilton has big shoes to fill. McGinnis worked as a deputy clerk for a few years before taking office as the circuit court clerk, where she has served for 16 years.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs bittersweet. I love my people and I love what I do, but at the same time I‚Äôm looking forward to slowing down a little bit,‚ÄĚ McGinnis said. ‚ÄúNot having to be somewhere at 8 a.m. will be nice.‚ÄĚ
Even though her term is over at the end of the year, McGinnis said she will definitely be back at the courthouse to take care of old business throughout January.
‚Äú... Because I‚Äôm the clerk, it‚Äôs my responsibility to make sure (recently filed cases are) prepared and sent up to the supreme court,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúThe daily work goes on as well. I‚Äôm going to be around off-and-on to tie up some loose ends and I‚Äôll be here to answer any questions Glen has.‚ÄĚ
While McGinnis ties up the loose ends, Hamilton will have to jump right in with a grand jury in January, followed by a circuit court term in February and a presidential election in November.