Hariel announces candidacy

Published 4:56 pm Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I, Vickie Hariel, announce my candidacy for re-election to the office of Circuit Clerk. The duties of Circuit Clerk consists of: Issuing marriage license, registrar of voters, clerk for jury commissioners, assisting executive committees in primary election, clerk to the circuit judges, custodian of civil and criminal records and exhibits and evidence for preservation on appeals to Supreme Court, accountant of monies including fines, restitution and court costs and disbursements to proper citizens, just to name a few.

I have had the opportunity to meet many of you, including those who have served on jury duty, trained on new voting equipment for voting purposes and to work the polls. To all of you, I say thank you for your service and desire for knowledge of the new voting system. For those of you I have not had the opportunity to meet, my name is Vickie Hariel, Circuit Clerk and candidate for re-election. I began at entry level in the Circuit Clerk’s office, as a clerical typist, typing minutes of the Circuit Court and taking marriage applications. I increasingly became familiar with every aspect of the Circuit Clerk’s office, working under the direction of the two previous clerks. In 1999, when my predecessor chose to retire, I offered my experience and knowledge of the Circuit Clerk’s office to you the voters of Pearl River County, and you promoted me to the position of Circuit Clerk.

Upon taking office in 2000, I began implementing procedures for improvements in the services to the citizens and other departments associated with the Court. I computerized the marriage records, purchased software for management of civil and criminal case management, converted the manual accounting process to an electronic system for efficient audit and record keeping process. My staff and I have earned excellent audits and complimentary comments from auditors regarding effective bookkeeping records.

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The criminal case management system has provided Circuit Judges with reports on the status of probationers with delinquent fines, restitution and court costs. With this information in hand the Judges began holding “show cause” hearings to determine if offenders were in compliance with the court’s order, or if revocation of probation was necessary. In the initial months of hearings, collections increased 50 percent over previous months. This procedure has provided the most effective means of collections and has been implemented in other counties within the 15th Judicial District.

In 2002 federally mandated law required every state in the nation become compliant with new voting standards by election year 2006. Pearl River County first used the new TSX voting machines in June 2006. Extensive poll worker training was required due to intense changes in procedural and statutory requirements. The success of elections has been a team effort, and I thank our election commissioners, executive committees, TSX technician, poll workers and you the electorate for your willingness to accept a new mandated system. As a result, Pearl River County has had high marks and positive comprehensive election reports.

Each year during spring and fall, myself or a member of my staff visit the high schools in all three school districts to provide eligible students an opportunity to register to vote, become familiar with the voting system and to feel comfortable taking part in the election process.

Finally, allow me to paint for you a picture of the Circuit Clerk’s office January, 2008. On Jan. 7, all local elected officials will be sworn into office. One week later a grand jury will be empaneled and the first session of Circuit Court will begin. Court term continues for three weeks, during this term the ballot for the presidential primaries will be submitted to the clerk and executive committees for approval to begin the absentee process which takes place on Jan. 21. The jury commission will meet to accept the list of voters and begin the process of implementing the jury wheel for 2008-2009. On Feb. 18, with only two weeks between terms, Circuit Court convenes for three additional weeks with the primary elections taking place during the last week of court. Court terms require extensive preparation, and elections require extensive training of poll workers and preparation for voting.

With my years of training and experience, I have the knowledge it takes to assure the people of Pearl River County the above services will be successfully accomplished.

On a personal note, I am married to my husband of 29 years, Tony. We have one son and two granddaughters. I am a Christian, member of Order of Eastern Star, Mississippi Circuit Clerk Association, Chamber of Commerce and Poplarville Exchange Club.

It is a distinct honor and privilege to have served as your Circuit Clerk for the past 8 years, and I am grateful for your prayers, support of me in past elections and the faith you have placed in my ability to run the Circuit Clerk’s office. To insure continued, efficient, courteous and dependable service to you, the citizens of Pearl River County, I humbly ask you to go to the polls on Nov. 6 and re-elect Vickie P. Hariel, Circuit Clerk, Pearl River County. Thank you.