News and Tribune

Clark County

October 12, 2013

Familiar names seek nod for Clark clerk

Dems Fleece, Popp likely to square off in primary

JEFFERSONVILLE — Two experienced public servants will likely seek the Democratic Party’s nomination to run for Clark County Clerk of the Circuit Courts next year.

Current County Council member Susan Popp and Clark County Senior Judge Steve Fleece have both said they anticipate running for clerk, a position held by Barbara Bratcher Haas. Haas says she will not run for re-election in 2014.

Neither of the two have submitted paperwork with Clark County Voter Registration yet, but both have said they anticipate doing so. No other candidates have announced they will run for the office to date.

The clerk’s responsibilities include the administration of official court records of all cases with jurisdiction in the county; preparing the courts’ permanent historical records; processing and issuing documents for court cases; collecting and distributing monies related to court cases; and administering all federal, state, county, municipal and special elections, according to the website for the Association of Clerks of Circuit Courts of Indiana.

FLEECE

Fleece served as the judge of Superior Court 3 in Clark County for 24 years. Fleece retired in 2008, and has served the courts as a senior judge for the last five years.

“It just occurred to me that [the clerk’s office is] a place that my experience would be especially useful, so that got me thinking about it,” Fleece said.

He said he feels that his experience with the courts gives him an edge when it comes to finding solutions to problems within the clerk’s office.

“I think there are some things that could be done that would occur to someone with judicial experience that perhaps wouldn’t occur to somebody else,” Fleece said.

As an example, Fleece noted that judges have the authority to draft local rules, and he’d be for a local rule that would automatically withdraw defense attorneys from criminal cases when they conclude, which would put an end to the paperwork associated with motions to withdraw.

Fleece says he’s a proponent of upgrades to the technology used in the clerk’s office to improve efficiency, and says digitization of documents would cut down on the amount of time needed to hunt down documents.

Fleece, now 63, describes himself as a “young senior.” He doesn’t picture himself seeking a second term if elected.

“I would say that if I do it, what I’d want to do is get in and give four excellent years of service and then be done, because I would be 68 at that time, and with the rapid changes in technology and all, at age 68 it would be time to hand over the reins,” Fleece said. “Part of what I would be doing during the four years would be grooming a successor who would have the ability to get elected politically and also be well-trained in doing the job.”

Fleece said that successor has not been identified.

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