Moultrie Observer

Local News

February 7, 2013

Clerk of Court Carolyn Marshall to retire

MOULTRIE — Colquitt County Clerk of Court Carolyn Marshall announced her retirement this week, citing health reasons for leaving the job she has held for 12 years.

Marshall, who was re-elected in November to a fourth four-year term, said Thursday that her pulmonologist recommended she take the step of leaving the job.

After her last day on the job on Feb. 28, Chief Deputy Clerk Lynn Purvis will take over as clerk until a special election is held. Purvis has been in the office for 13 years, the last eight as chief deputy clerk.

“Thank the Lord I have no qualms about leaving, because I know Miss Lynn will be a good interim,” Marshall said.

In a 30-year career working with the court system in the county, Marshall began in 1980 in the district attorney’s office, then in 1982 became secretary to Superior Court Judge George Horkan.

After 12 years there she worked in the same capacity with his son, Superior Court Judge Frank Horkan, before running for office in 2000.

“I love working with people,” she said. “That’s one reason I wanted to be clerk. I always felt as the judge’s secretary I helped the public and law enforcement in making the judge’s life easier.

“I felt when the clerk’s position opened up I could do more.”

Although in larger counties duties are split among several clerks, Marshall said that in Colquitt County and other counties with smaller populations the clerk is in charge of records for Superior, State and Juvenile courts. That includes civil, criminal and traffic cases, with 11 deputy clerks in the office.

One way in which the office will be catching up with some of the larger counties is in the records available online. With a new software vendor the office eventually will put up court and real estate records with its own web site.

“This is going to help all the citizens of Colquitt County,” Marshall said. “It will help the attorneys do their job more efficiently.”

Marshall said she did not realize early last year that she would not be able to finish another term in office.

“I did not know when I qualified last May,” she said. “I knew I had those problems and they really get bad in the fall of the year. It began to get worse. I have enjoyed serving the people of Colquitt County.”

A special election will be held, likely later this year, to elect a clerk to serve the remainder of Marshall’s term, said Probate Court Judge Wes Lewis, who is in charge of the county’s elections.

State law says that after the vacancy is created a special election must be held not less than 120 days or more than 365 days, unless the remaining time on the term is less than two years in which case the interim can serve the remainder.

“The chief deputy clerk will hold the office until a special election can be held,” he said. “I think you have June, September and November, but I think we’re looking at the fall.”

The election will cost $10,000 to $15,000, he said.

Sheriff Al Whittington, who was elected to his first term the same year Marshall was to hers, said he will miss her.

“Carolyn has always been a pleasure to work with,” he said. “We’ve been friends for years. I think she’s done a great job as our clerk. I hate to see her go, but I can certainly understand.”

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