Juneau County voters will elect three people to county offices in the November election – a sheriff, a coroner and a clerk of court — but only the clerk of court race is contested.
Two candidates filed paperwork to put their names onto fall ballots for the clerk of court post — incumbent Loretta Roberts and challenger Patty Schluter.
Because Roberts and Schluter both filed to run as Republicans, the clerk of court race is very likely to be settled by voters in the fall primary Aug. 12, barring a successful write-in candidate in the November election.
The clerk of court office is established by the state Constitution. The clerk is responsible for keeping the records of Circuit Court cases filed in the county. The clerk maintains the jury system for the Circuit Court and provides jurors for trials when needed.
The clerk receives, records and disburses money collected for fines and forfeitures, bail bonds, trusts and reimbursements as ordered by the Circuit Court.
The clerk of court serves a four-year term. In 2015, when the winner of the November election takes office, the post will pay an annual salary of $56,411.
The clerk is an employee of Juneau County and reports to the Executive Committee of the county Board of Supervisors. The clerk supervises a staff of seven people.
The Star-Times asked both candidates to answer the same three questions via email. We present their answers here, along with biographical information, edited only for punctuation and style.
Loretta M. Roberts
Family: Two adult sons, Brandon and Dylan Ray, one dog - Margherita. Engaged: Fiance - Eric Bye and future stepson, Austin Bye
Job: Juneau County Clerk of Court
Political Experience: Juneau County Clerk of Court for more than 3 years
Address: 934 Steiner Ave., Mauston
Education: 1987 Graduate of Mauston High School, 2013 Graduate of the Juneau County Advanced Leadership Program, I have attended all statewide Clerks of Court conferences for further training and education since becoming Clerk of Court.
Other: Member of St. Patrick's parish in Mauston
Family: Husband-Daniel, Children: Jason and Brittany, Grandchildren: One on the way
Job: Secretary and Payroll Clerk
Political Experience: 18 years as the Treasurer for the Township of Kildare
Address: W3512 57th St., Lyndon Station
Education: Graduate of Mauston High School
Other: Committee Chair for the St. Patrick’s Fall Festival, Groundskeeper for St. Patrick’s Cemetery, Volunteer at the Sharing Supper, Board Member for the JJJA Memorial Football Game- for school scholarships and Graduate of the Advance Leadership Program.
What experience qualifies you for the Juneau County clerk of court post?
Roberts: What qualifies me to do this job for starters is simply the fact that I have actually already been successfully doing the job for more than 3 years. I was the person chosen, over my opponent, to be appointed as the Clerk of Court in 2011 by the Judges and the Juneau County Board after applications, interviews and research had been done. I had previous experience in management at Lands' End in Reedsburg. Since starting in the Clerk of Court's office in 2004, I had worked in four various positions and had a wide range of knowledge of different aspects of the job duties in the office. I have a very strong work ethic and excellent retention of what I have learned and I adapt and catch on to new things very quickly.
It takes a very special skill set, intelligence, temperament, strength, personal drive and passion for the work to be successful at this position. I have proven that I possess those qualities and am completely capable of doing the job. I keep the office functioning at a high level of efficiency while providing great customer service and still staying within our specific budget. In fact, I have been able to cut our budget in several different areas and save the taxpayers money.
Schluter: My name is Patty Schluter and I have worked for Juneau County for 20 years. I worked for the Health Department and Register of Deeds Office and each transition increased my knowledge to serve the public.
I worked 13-plus years under Clerk of Circuit Court Louise Schulz. My first job in the Clerk of Courts office was as the Civil and Jury Clerk. I also assisted the Family Clerk and Receptionist in filing cases and collecting payments.
I was promoted to the position of Rotator and back up Clerk for Small Claims and the Accounting position. The Rotator position also required me to fill in all positions in the Clerk of Courts office.
I learned the procedures for all civil cases regarding filing and loading cases in CCAP, clerking in court, docketing information in CCAP, processing Judgments for Civil, Small Claims, and Family cases. Every year I selected jurors to serve for that year, and set up jury list panel for the courts.
I handled criminal case filings, bond hearings, clerking in court and jury trials. I produced and processed orders from the court, produced Judgment of Convictions, and dispersed copies to the District Attorney, Sheriff Department, prisons, Probation office, and Human Services.
I was also back up for the Accounting position in the Clerk of Courts office processing End of Month, sending checks to State, County and Municipal entities. I prepared files for Collections and processed checks from the Federal Tax Intercept Program applying monies to the proper cases.
What skills or qualities are the most important in a clerk of court?
Roberts: The Clerk of Court needs to have excellent customer service skills and people skills in order to effectively and compassionately deal with clients and co-workers. They should be empathetic and must always remain fair and impartial, not taking sides or playing favorites. They must be intelligent, self motivated and have a very strong work ethic. The Clerk of Court should have personal experience in actually doing all aspects/duties of the office, have passion for the work and strong desire to learn more and further their knowledge every day. They need to have leadership skills and be able to assist staff members in their own individual personal growth as well. The Clerk of Court needs to be capable of handling a large budget and be resourceful with collections and frugal with expenditures. They need to know, follow and respect state law and statutes including those governing elections. They need to have the desire, capability and stamina to work long hours especially when short-staffed or a court hearing or jury trial goes late into the evening. It bodes well for the Clerk of Court to also have a good sense of humor but never at the expense of anyone else. The Clerk of Court needs to have the strength and insight to reprimand and remove, if necessary, employees that do not follow county policy and do not fulfill their job duties. They have an obligation to the taxpayers of this county to ensure that their money is spent wisely and not wasted.
Schluter: There are several skills that are important in the Clerk of Courts office and the number one is Accuracy because of the amount of money processed in all cases and the number of cases filed each year. Application of monies to the proper case files is a must.
Organization to properly file paperwork received from Judges, District Attorneys, Attorneys, Pro Se filers, and other entities that file reports, assessments, and documents with the Clerk of Courts. Constant attention to case numbers and party names is essential to ensure documents are filed in the correct files.
Communication is important to express your ideas and participate in meetings regarding changes in the court system. Keep an open mind to new issues and concepts so changes can be made easily and be an advantage to everyone. Have regular meetings to discuss issues, problems and changes to keep operations running smoothly.
Having Knowledge in every aspect of the Court system is very important to manage the Clerk of Court office. Keeping current with computer programs, new procedures from CCAP, and State requirements will help keep your information and reports current. Knowing where and who to call for answers to questions that arise is very important.
Confidentiality and Integrity are very important working in the Clerk of Courts office. It is in the best interest of the court system that court personnel do not discuss court cases outside the office. This will help avoid any misunderstandings about cases.
What distinguishes you from your primary opponent?
Roberts: I possess the required skills and aptitude to do the job successfully. I enjoy my work and have a passion for learning new things and challenging myself intellectually. I truly care about the quality of my work, the integrity of the office, the people that I work with and the public I serve. My motivation for wanting to continue as your Clerk of Court is genuine and comes from my strong desire to be a public servant. I take great pride in what I do and in this county.
I assist the staff in all areas and am capable of answering all of their questions or knowing where to go to find the answers. I possess a very strong work ethic and high level of accuracy with a keen eye for details. I have never failed in any position for not knowing my job duties, refusing to learn them or just not having the capacity to learn them. My workload is always my priority, not socializing.
I am very capable and independent and do not rely on other staff members to do my work for me. I take my job very seriously and I understand and follow the laws and statutes of the state of Wisconsin including those that govern elections. The residents of Juneau County deserve to continue to have a Clerk of Court that will work hard for them and do the job successfully.
I ask for your vote on August 12, 2014. Thank you for your support!
Schluter: I have worked for Juneau County for 20 years and have gained valuable knowledge and experience working with and serving the public in all of my county employment.
I worked in the Clerk of Courts office 13-plus years and have experience in all aspects of the Clerk of Courts office. I have the knowledge to run the Clerk of Courts office in a professional and business manner. I have worked with all departments of the Justice System and will continue a respectable relationship with all agencies.
I have the ability to work professionally with all people and departments to better serve the court system and the people of Juneau County.
PLEASE VOTE – PATTY SCHLUTER – JUNEAU COUNTY CLERK OF CIRCUIT COURT