The four Republicans vying for Oklahoma County court clerk promise to bring a conservative approach to managing the office and taxpayer funds.
The office is tasked with preserving the county's court records, maintaining and collecting fines and fees, distributing funds and issuing warrants, court orders and licenses. The court clerk is one of eight members on the county budget board.
Tim Rhodes might be seen as the heir apparent, having served 15 years under retiring Oklahoma County Court Clerk Patricia Presley. But his three challengers say they are running to change the status quo.
Since no Democrat filed for the seat, the race will be determined at a primary June 26.
Rhodes said his work in executive management at the office qualifies him more than the others. He said he is proud of the work he's done under Presley, and that the office under their leadership made tough decisions necessary to remain solvent and efficient.
“We have documented a record of being fiscally conservative,” he said. “We've cut our budgets that last four years by a total of 20 percent overall, our staffing is down about 20 percent from previous years as well. We're doing more with less.”
He said the county office under his and Presley's leadership cut 90 percent of its paperwork by introducing electronic filing. He said morale is high and the office has a good track record on customer service.
“When we don't need as many people to handle paper, we'll have more resources to keep the brightest and best in our office,” he said.
Salome Vaughn said her background in paralegal work and as an employer makes her qualified to get the best out of the court clerk office employees.
She said she is certified to provide in-house training at the office and would streamline the juror check-in process by allowing them to access the parking garage with their badges. She said she would introduce flex scheduling for employees.
Vaughn said morale is low under the current leadership, and she would like to cross-train clerks in all departments, criminal and civil.
“Right now I think that a lot of times they don't feel like they're a part of the team because they're not brought in to be a part of the entire team when decisions are made,” Vaughn said. “I do believe you have to have leaders, but I believe the leaders should listen to their employees. They need someone in that office that cares about the dollars that are spent.”