Clerk of the Circuit Court Barbara Meiklejohn hopes voters will grant her a second term to work on some unfinished business.
“There’s things that haven’t been finished yet…I’d like to have a part in making sure they get completed,” she said.
Meiklejohn, 61, who won her first term in 2014 – but has worked in county courts since 1975 – is building her campaign around Maryland’s electronic court filing system.
“We’ve been in the process of trying to go completely e-filing for a while,” she said. “Montgomery County still has not gotten implemented yet … and I feel like I’m in the middle of this project and I really want to see it completed.”
The lifelong County resident explained that the clerk’s office is distinct from the other offices that appear on the ballot in November because the position – and the relevant issues in the election for it – pertain mainly to the judiciary system, adding that she must “make sure that all [her] staff is fully-trained so that when we are put online to go electronically…all of the staff are able to continue functioning and working.”
Regardless of how the e-filing implementation goes, Meiklejohn’s top priority will be ensuring the court system continues to function and serve the public.
“One of the things I want to get accomplished for the public is that our customer service doesn’t drop and our time that you wait to get papers processed doesn’t drop,” she added.
Meiklejohn explained that an electronic court system would allow litigants to file court papers without having to make the trip to the court building in Rockville.
Loretta Knight, who served as Meiklejohn’s predecessor from 2006-14, explained that the clerk’s position also requires experience.
“By having experience in the job, then you can make sure all of your departments are following the rules,” she said during a previous interview. “It’s a very responsible position, it’s not a position to be taken lightly … and you need to have experience because there is so much diversity in all that we handle that if you don’t have the experience, you’re going to have trouble.”
Meiklejohn faces local attourney Alan Bowser in the June 26 Democratic primary election.
The clerk’s office, which was first established in 1658 in St. Mary’s County, currently has a $14.6 million budget and a staff of 117 full-time employees.