As I sit here and ponder an opinion I read the other day in the Chattanoogan endorsing my opponent, I ask myself as to whether endorsements help, or do they hurt? Then I thought, well I have an opinion, as most people do, so why not endorse myself with my opinion, especially since I am my hardest critic.
My daughter even said to me “Is there a chance you won’t win the election, or are you not giving yourself the credit you deserve?” I thought about that for a while and she’s right. I have been the Court Clerk in the City of East Ridge for four years. I’ve worked hard and diligently to ensure that the court is efficient. I’ve worked to ensure that the citizens, police officers, DA’s, public defenders, attorney’s and the judge have the confidence in our court to do a good job, run smoothly, efficiently and professionally, the way a court should.
Apparently, my opponent and his supporter, Mr. Vince Dean, who endorsed him in the Chattanoogan, think that collecting fines and fees and making sure that the affidavits and citations are filed in the right file cabinet is what this job is all about. Well, they obviously lack the experience and knowledge of what a court office of four people does.
I understand that Mr. Dean is the Hamilton County Criminal Court Clerk, but he also has several “clerks” that work for him and do the job for him. Yes, they have more cases, more judges, and more court rooms, but Mr. Dean does not create the docket; does not handle daily phone calls; does not enter cases; does not file monthly reports to both the city and the state; does not sit on the bench with the judge; does not enter dispositions, change court dates, enter bond information, keep track of bonds, receive phone calls at any given hour of the day or night, weekday or weekend, etc., he has clerks and magistrates that handle all of that for him. So, he may only make sure that the collection agency and his clerks collect the fines and fees, and the affidavits are filed correctly for auditors, but he has no idea what I do, or how the East Ridge Municipal Court works.
I have taken the court and made it more efficient, structured and organized than it’s ever been. I’ve put together a team that works together, like a well-oiled machine. We help each other and pitch in when needed to give each other a hand to get the job done, correctly and efficiently.
Just because Mr. Thompson and Mr. Dean know a lot of people, does not mean they know our court.
Mr. Thompson went from working at Camp Jordan, cutting grass, retired, and now works at a funeral home and has not been with the city or involved in the city in any way since his retirement. I do not see or hear “law” or “legal” in any of the jobs he has had in the past.
Because I have signs that are a caricature instead of the standard red, white & blue like everyone else, doesn’t in any way mean I don’t take my job seriously. I take my job very seriously and have pride in my work and the job I do. It means I’m different. My brother drew the picture for me to catch people’s attention, it’s called a “marketing strategy.”
Apparently, it worked; people like my signs, I get compliments almost every day. I even had a gentleman come in to the court just to tell me how every time he sees my signs it makes him smile. Wow, what a compliment! In this ugly world we live in today, I made someone smile!
Finally, remember my position is not an office, it’s a job. You, the people of East Ridge, are the boss, it’s up to you to hire the most qualified candidate, the right person, the only person for the job. The person with the experience and knowledge to get the job done and get it done correctly, without costing the city any more money in training.
I was truly honored to be elected four years ago, and I will be truly honored to have your vote again and continue to run the court efficiently, impartially, and professionally as it needs to run. The safety of our city depends on the efficiency of this court.
_ Patricia Cassidy, East Ridge Court Clerk