If you have ever had the need for a license plate, a marriage license or a business license in Cannon County, chances are you have visited the county clerk's office at the courthouse.
Four persons are on the ballot for the position of county clerk in the August 5 General Election.
One is the incumbent, Bobby Smith, who has held the position for 32 years. Smith is seeking his ninth term as county clerk. He says the main objective of this office is to serve the people of Cannon County by giving fast, efficient, and courteous service.
Also seeking the position are:
• Terry Russell Reed, a graduate of Woodbury Central who is presently employed at Jacobson Transportation. Reed has resided in the Eastside community for 23 years.
• Roger Spry, who currently manages his own business, a dairy farm. He is a graduate of Cannon County High School and MTSU and a native of Cannon County.
• Matt Teply, a Cannon County resident since July 2004. He worked as a tax examiner for the IRS before transitioning to education. For the last eight years, he's taught Algebra and Advanced Math in Smyrna and Murfreesboro.
The county clerk has many important functions within the county government. The county clerk serves as clerk of the county legislative body, keeps the records of the county legislative body, and sends required notices. The minutes of the county legislative body meetings are required to be promptly and fully recorded by the county clerk and are open to public inspection.
The county clerk issues business licenses, handles motor vehicle titling and registration, and collects county wheel taxes. Also, the county clerk issues marriage licenses, collects the state and any county privilege tax on marriage, and may solemnize a marriage.
Since notaries public are elected by the county legislative body, the county clerk keeps a record of the notaries public in the county and has duties involving coordination between the secretary of state and the notary applicant.
County clerks can have other miscellaneous licensing duties, including pawnbroker licensing, hunting and fishing licensing and others. The county clerk's office receives fees for the services rendered.
Since office management is an important aspect of the county clerk's responsibilities, county clerks should be familiar with both state and federal laws relating to personnel matters. Also, the county clerk should have a basic understanding of potential liability, including both personal liability and county liability, and of the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act.
The Tennessee Constitution provides for each county to have a county clerk, elected for a term of four years. Any county resident over the age of 18 who is not otherwise disqualified from holding public office (by virtue of certain criminal convictions or other legal disqualifications) may seek the office of county clerk. No educational or experience requirements apply to the office.
The county clerk is elected by popular vote at the regular August election occurring every four years coinciding with the governor's election, and takes office on September 1 following the election, upon receiving the proper certificate of election, being officially bonded as required by law, and taking the required oath of office. Failure to take and file the proper oath and bond is a misdemeanor offense.
Deputies and Assistants
The number and salaries of deputies and assistants may be determined by decree of chancery court; alternatively, if the county clerk is under the budget system and agrees with the budget adopted by the county legislative body, by entering into a letter of agreement with the county mayor; or, if on the fee system the county clerk may enter into a letter of agreement with the county mayor. Under both alternatives, the county clerk would avoid a salary suit.