Harold Patrick — Career Public Servant


I have never liked the thought of a “Career Politician” it just doesn’t conjure up good images. It reminds me of old movies about corruption that comes from “The Top” like Memphis or Chicago.

So in this case I will call this man a “career public servant.” This week’s departure of Harold Patrick from the job of Clerk and Master has left some big shoes to fill.

Ever since I have known Harold (about 28 years) he has been in some way connected to the inner workings of Cannon County Government. As a commissioner he was on the front line of watching and maintaining some form of a business in Cannon County. A commissioner’s job is to find the money to keep the government going without breaking the back of the taxpayers. After Commissioner he was elected to County Executive, a post he held until he took over as the Clerk and Master.

If I am right he held the office of Executive after Nolan (Dude) Northcutt left office and that should have been in 1986. When he left the office it was 1997. He ran a good office and had the interest of the county at heart.

His duties were not all pleasant. I remember when the issue of the Confederate Flag (Stars and Bars) was thrust upon him. It was left up to him to carry out whatever decision that was handed down to him from the court.

It was a bad time for Cannon County as well. Not as bad as the Civil War was when brother turned against brother and friend against friend mind you, but enough to cause concern for Harold’s safety by law enforcement groups after he was threatened with death, this was from inside the county borders. This was not well known by the population but us in law enforcement new it.  Harold kept his cool and everything turned out for the good of all involved.

This week Chancellor Corlew had to make a decision from a field of 40 applicants to replace Patrick who turned 64 this summer. The field was later whittled down to a total of five people who wanted to assume that responsibility. The Chancellor chose one of those five when he chose Bill Bryson, a local attorney, and now Bill who is in his seventies will have to try and fill some awfully big shoes.  

We citizens of Woodbury still have Harold’s impact on our lives as our mayor, and if I may say so, we are the better for it.  

Thank you Harold, for a job well done.