Although the Bossier Parish Clerk of Court’s office race to replace longtime Clerk Cindy Johnston is six months away, contenders for the job have come out early and enthusiastically. Earlier this month, candidate Jill Sessions was profiled. Today, candidate Monica Hudson shares her background and considerations for how the Clerk’s office might be improved.
Hudson is not a stranger to the Clerk’s office; beginning in 1982, she spent eight years working in the office before moving on to work for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, where her work included duties similar to those she preformed in the Clerk’s office. She’s also worked as a legal secretary for private attorneys. For the past 15 years, Hudson has been employed in the Bossier Parish office of the Bossier-Webster District Attorney, serving the last 12 of those years as the DA’s Victim Advocate. She’s been a Notary Public since age 18.
She’s also active in the community having served on area boards including the Caddo-Bossier Domestic Violence Task Force and the YWCA, and has worked with the Foster Grandparents Program, as well as recently being named the local Republican Women’s membership chair.
Hudson believes her past work history, particularly in records management, and community service leadership positions provide the experience needed to effectively manage the Bossier Parish Clerk of Court’s office and improve its operation and services. And Hudson was quick to note some of her concerns for improving the office’s services are based on discussions she’s had with area abstractors and at least one attorney.
She ticked off complaints about the state of original documents, particularly the large maps housed in the office, and the need to scan all originals so that the copies – not the originals are handled by patrons of the office.
“… If we lose that document, if we lose that instrument … the integrity of the documents, that’s our history,” Hudson said. She advocates following the practice of the Caddo Parish Clerk of Court’s office in sending such maps and other older original documents out for copying.
Hudson said that she believes many ways to improve the Bossier Clerk’s office can be discovered through visits to other Clerk’s offices. She detailed several such points resulting from spending an afternoon visiting with the Caddo Parish deputy clerks, including greater use of new technology to scan documents for greater on-line availability; use of a barcode system to track documents; and implementation of a system of “double checks” to reduce errors in indexing documents.
She also discussed the need for cross-training the office’s deputy clerks and for developing a records management system that would track the exact location of any civil suit file.
“It should be like the FDIC – we had a log and we could tell you where it (a file) was, we didn’t have any doubt,” Hudson recalled.
Hudson would also implement the use of debit and credit cards for payment of costs and fees in the Clerk’s office, and she said she’s intent on upgrading the office’s technology to better serve the office’s users. She’s also looking at ways to reduce costs, and is considering the option of opening a satellite office in Bossier City.
To date only Hudson and chief deputy clerk Jill Sessions have announced as candidates for Bossier Parish Clerk of Court. While local attorney Jimmy Franklin expressed interest in running for the job, he’s reportedly reconsidered and will not run.
Candidate qualifying isn’t until August, however, so another candidate or two could emerge. In the meantime, look for those Sessions and Hudson signs to begin dotting roadways and yards – and take some time to talk to these candidates and ask questions when they begin knocking on doors to solicit votes.
Marty Carlson is a columnist for the BPT. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org