HAZARD — If elected Perry County’s next circuit clerk, Debbie Manis has a few ideas on how to make the office more efficient for the public, and she says that’s one reason she is currently in the midst of her first run for public office.
Manis, a Democrat, has worked at the circuit clerk’s office for 31 years, which according to her gives her more experience than all of her opponents combined. One of those opponents is her current boss, Circuit Clerk Roger Collins, and she said it has been stressful running against him, but she believes she knows the office well enough to make changes that will help the public.
“There is nothing about this office that I don’t know and haven’t done,” Manis said. “After all these years, I felt compelled to run because I can make the office more efficient.”
Manis said that her goals are to make the office easier to use for the citizens of Perry County. She said the clerk’s office does help to run the district and circuit courts, but the greatest responsibility of any public office is to the community.
“Of course the office handles tons of paperwork with all of the court filings and pleadings,” she said. “We keep the courts going, but I think the top priority should be to the public.”
The circuit clerk’s office is busy every weekday as Perry County residents renew their driver’s licenses and check the public records among other things. Manis believes that because of this it is important that each and every person working in the clerk’s office has the ability to help whomever walks up to the window.
“So when somebody comes to that window, the person at that window should be able to help them,” said Manis. “You know, not send them to another window and send them to another window.”
Manis said her first and most immediate priority in office would be to start by cross-training the deputy clerks so they can cover all positions in the office.
“I would expect everybody at every window, when they ask a deputy clerk something, they should be able to help that person,” she explained. “And I would be on the window as well. Quite a bit, actually.”
Manis said that unlike some of her opponents, she will not be able to campaign door to door despite wanting to meet and talk to as many people in Perry County as she can. Because of her current position at the clerk’s office she will be doing limited campaigning.
“I would love to go door to door and meet everybody in this county, but that is not possible because I don’t have that option. I have to work eight hours a day,” she remarked, adding that her work schedule will continue if elected.
A part of helping to better serve the public, Manis said she would need to be present and doing several jobs in the office to fully understand its strengths and weaknesses.
“I feel like a clerk should be a full-time working clerk,” she said. “I would do that.”
She said that above all she wants to serve the public the best way possible.
Along with Collins, Manis will also be running against Hazard resident Charles Patterson in the Democratic primary in May. Hazard attorney Tom Eckert is the only Republican in the race.