Keith to challenge Abell for circuit clerk: Keith says skills lead her to seeking office

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By Thomas Barr

 ZONETON - Paulita Keith has grown up in a family that has been involved in the community for years.

While her father has been barbering for years, her mother and uncle served as the county’s Property Valuation Administrator.

At some point, Keith knew that she would get involved in government.

With encouragement from others, now is the time.

Keith is the Republican Party nominee for the office of circuit court clerk.

“I think I have the skills needed to make that an efficient office,” said Keith, who is a certified public accountant. “It seems like a nice fit and there seems to be a definite need.”

In making that final commitment, Keith said she looked at her abilities and the demands of the office.

With her background as a CPA and as a supervisor, Keith said she believes she can bring a new perspective to the circuit clerk’s position.

“I can multi-task,” said Keith. “I’m used to the demands of the public.”

In spending the past year talking with people throughout the county, Keith said she realized that many didn’t understand the workings of the office and most never had any contact with the office.

After explaining the differences in the county clerk and the circuit clerk, Keith said she then zeroed in on what concerns people had with the state office.

In the circuit clerk’s office, a major responsibility is making sure all the legal documents get to the right place in a timely manner. Her office is also responsible for financial responsibilities such as taking fines and bond.

There is also the driver’s license bureau.

And, there is working under the guidelines of the state Administrative Office of the Courts and state budget constraints.

“It’s not an easy office to administer,” said Keith.

She understands that the AOC controls a lot of the office procedures, including the lack of salary increases for the past several years.

However, as circuit clerk, Keith said she has several goals.

First, she wants to talk with the staff and find out their concerns.

Once any concerns are voiced, she plans to work on solutions, if possible.

Some things, such as salary increases, may not be possible.

After talking with the staff, Keith said she would then be talking with every group of individuals who rely upon the clerk’s office to listen to their concerns and issues.

She wants to cross-train the staff members. Keith said the AOC offers training sessions to help make this happen.

Keith wants to work on ways to improve the morale of the staff, which is underpaid and overworked.

She wants to be a working clerk and plans on being out on the front lines with the employees and able to fill in when needed.

She wants to create a more customer-friendly environment with the public, as well as the attorneys.

“I will be a hard-working clerk,” said Keith. “I think I have the skills to do the job.”

Keith understands that change is hard for individuals. But sometimes change is good.

She changed her party affiliation for a simple reason - she no longer felt the national platform were aligned with her conservative beliefs.

“The party left me,” said Keith.

But, in Bullitt County, Keith doesn’t think the party is a major factor. Many Democrats are very conservative and she believes most people vote for the individual, not the party affiliation.

“I feel I can do the job,” said Keith. “I’ve met a lot of people and they also feel I can do the job. My family has served the community for years and I want to continue that tradition.”