Petitioner challenges incumbent for Georgetown Clerk of Court

A petition candidate is challenging Georgetown County’s three-term clerk of court for one of the handful of full-time courthouse jobs.

Alma White, 59, is seeking re-election while Tammie P. Avant, 48, a paralegal who often uses the records in the office, also wants the job that starts at $44,000 a year.

The clerk is required to keep and care for all court records and some other public records. All records are public except in a few cases, and anyone can see them.

“These are available to the public, not just attorneys,” White said.

White, a Democrat, was elected in 2000 after a career in teaching that included three terms on Georgetown City Council. Since she took office, many of the records have gone digital, with more to come. That means people can view many records from their home or office.

“I want to continue to improve this office,” White said. “I want to continue to serve.”

Avant said she sees ways she can make the office work better.

“I think that the clerk’s office can be run more efficiently,” she said.

Avant said there has been too much staff turnover in the office, and that staff members should be cross-trained so each can do most of the jobs. If one person is out, some jobs wait until they get back, she said.

White said turnover has been partly because of pay levels, which are set by the county, and people leaving for better jobs. The turnover isn’t unusual for clerk jobs, she said.

The staff receives the training required by the state and it is updated frequently, she also said.

She said her office already operates efficiently.

“I have always come in under budget,” she said, with the remaining money returned to the county general fund.