County Clerk uses expertise to educate Texas officials
County Clerk Karen Jo Vance, who has held the office since 1995, knows the ins and outs and daily running of the office like the back of her hand.
And, this past month, Commissioners and County Judges across the state also got to hear about that expertise.
In April, Vance spoke at the 82nd annual West Texas County Judges and County Commissioners Conference in Lubbock.
“I was invited to come and speak by the County and District Clerks Association of Texas President Joyce Hudman and Ashley Matthews from the V.G. Young Institute of Texas A&M,” Vance said. “I mostly spoke just on what a county clerk does from eight to five everyday and the responsibilities and duties of the office.
“I kind of winged it really.”
Afterward, Vance said that several of those in attendance thanked her for coming to speak to them.
“They said that they were so glad that I didn’t just go up to the front and read to them off of a power point presentation,” she said. “They could tell that I enjoyed speaking to them. I had a blast.”
Vance said that from that speaking engagement, she has already been approached by Upton County Judge Bill Eyler, in Rankin, to come and speak to his Commissioners Court on the subject of elections and the duties of election administrators sometime later this year.
“I feel that this is a door that the Lord has opened for me,” she said. “My staff can keep the office running while I’m away.
“And, I can talk until the cows come home.”
Vance, who has worked in the county clerk’s office full-time since 1977, has a wealth of knowledge on the duties of the county clerk’s office, as she started off as a take off girl that filed index cards in the last hours of the work day in the abstract plant, or title office, in the back of the office and worked her way up.
After her full-time hire under former County Clerk Sallie Frazier, Vance was the one to implement records onto computer files in 1985.
Since her first running for election in 1994, Vance has seen new things implemented in the office, such as digital imaging in 2004.
“Before, everything was set up on microfilm,” she said. “When I started I never would have even imagined things like digital imaging. It has changed the way things are looked up in the office, making it much easier.”
Vance sees the opportunity to share her gained knowledge of the office over the years as a great asset, and it is only a stepping stone toward what she can additionally do in the coming years.
“I’ve [ran] five times, three opposed and two unopposed,” she said. “And, I’ll run again. I have no plans to retire. There is always something new for me to look forward to.”