With about 100 supporters, friends, elected officials and co-workers watching, Circuit Judge Ken Deihl administered the oath of office to newly appointed Macoupin County Circuit Clerk Lee Ross Monday morning in the main courtroom of the Macoupin County Courthouse.
Ross, who previously served as Deputy Circuit Clerk under outgoing Circuit Clerk Mike Mathis, was appointed to the position last month by County Board Chairman Mark Dragovich following a unanimous vote of the Macoupin County Board. Mathis, who was elected to the Circuit Clerk’s office five times, retired from the office, effective Dec. 31.
“Lee is a hard-working county employee,” Judge Deihl told those gathered for the ceremony. “You don’t have to take my word for that. If you drive by the courthouse at 5:30 in the morning, you’ll see her car in the parking lot. You’d have to be here at 4 o’clock, though, if you want to actually see her park.”
Deihl and others praised Ross’ commitment to the job and her work ethic.
“She must run on super-strength Duracell batteries,” Deihl said. “She has been a great Deputy Clerk and I predict she will be a dynamite Circuit Clerk.”
State Sen. Andy Manar, who formerly served as Macoupin County Board Chairman, said Ross will continue the county’s “great tradition of high quality public officials.”
Associate Judge Josh Meyer praised Ross’ appointment, saying, “We are blessed to have you.”
Mathis touted Ross’ experience in the office as an asset. The last three Circuit Clerks–Phil Brown, Don Stankoven and Mathis–served more than 60 years, he said.
“The thing we all had in common is that we had no experience with the office when we were elected,” Mathis said. “That changes today. I think you are going to do great things because you already know what to do.”
Ross, a Gillespie resident, began working in the Circuit Clerk’s office in 1987 under Stankoven. She is a candidate for the Democratic nomination to run for the office in November. She is opposed in the March 15 primary election by Peyton Bernot of Benld. No Republican candidates have yet announced intent to run.
Mathis, who was in midterm of his fifth term, is a Democrat candidate for State Representative from the 95th Legislative District, bidding to oust Republican Avery Bourne, who was appointed to replace Wayne Rosenthal. Rosenthal was appointed Gov. Bruce Rauner last year tp serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
After taking the oath of office, Ross thanked those attending the event and thanked the speakers for their “kind words.” She introduced the office’s nine staff members, saying they represent 194 years of experience in the Circuit Clerk’s office.
The office is a busy one, she noted, filing 9,217 new court cases in 2015–up 1,318 cases over 2014.
The Circuit Clerk’s office is responsible for maintaining documents relating to court proceedings and business coming before the Macoupin County Circuit Court, including traffic offenses, criminal charges, lawsuits, dissolutions of marriage, probate, chancery, family court and other matters. The office also is responsible for administering both the petit jury and grand jury systems.
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