New clerk of court takes office

Marshall County has a new clerk of the court.

Judge James Ellefson swore in Carol Haney Friday morning at the Marshall County Courthouse.

Haney has worked in the office since October and has been training for her new position for the past couple weeks. The position became available when the former clerk of court, Kim Halverson, secured a job as the Johnson County clerk of court.

Haney brings 20 years management experience to the position. She previously spent two years working as a clerk in her husband’s law office before accepting a clerk position in Story County.

But Haney said she has always hoped a job would become available in Marshalltown. And late last year, she transferred to Marshalltown to fill an opening in the local clerk of court’s office.

“This is my community,” she said. “It’s nice to be back home.”

While in Story County, Haney said she helped get its electronic filing system running.

The new filing system helps reduce burden on counties by saving paper and staff time, thereby saving taxpayers money, Haney said. As counties across the state continue to convert to an electronic filing system, she believes she can help make that transition smoother.

“It was the ground floor there (in Story County), learning to problem solve and learning to get through the hurdles,” Haney said.

While the electronic system is still far from perfect, Haney said information technology staff is on hand to assist with any problems. The process is continually evolving, and her staff will continue to work to address any issues that arise with the system.

Halverson, who was clerk of court for nearly seven years, said Haney is well-suited to assume the position, and her customer service skills will prove invaluable to the county.

Dealing with the public, and doing so in a composed manner, is the most important aspect of the clerk of court, Halverson said.

Halverson worked in the clerk’s office for 18 years, starting out as a clerk just as Haney did.

“She is very easy to work with,” Halverson said. “We spend a lot of time putting out fires, so it’s important to have [good customer service] skills Her personality complements the position because she is so calm and collected.”

The state paid Halverson $58,904 for fiscal year 2012, but hard data on Haney’s starting salary was unavailable at press time. Haney said she believes her salary is around $43,000 a year.

Customer service is always the clerk of court’s top priority, Haney said. Often, clerk of court staff members are the first and last faces the public see. And, because of the reasons that necessitate appearing in court, the people coming into the courthouse are not always in the best of spirits.

Clerk of court staff should be trying to make the public’s visit to the courthouse as pleasant as possible, Haney said.

Other than putting the new filing system in place, little will change with her assuming the role of clerk of court. She said she is unaware of any plans to switch her office’s hours back to what they used to be.

While she doesn’t pretend to know every little detail of what the job will demand, Haney said she is confident that, along the staff in the clerk’s office, she can meet any challenges head-on. The clerk’s office is a moving, changing entity, and in order to keep up with it, she knows she will have to continue learning.

It’s like her dad always used to say:

“The day you quit learning is the day you have one foot in the grave,” Haney said.