The election for Vermilion County Circuit Clerk has Circuit Clerk Melissa “Missy” Quick, who was a longtime deputy clerk who is filling the remaining term of Dennis Gardner who retired, facing Crosspoint Human Services legal advocate and care coordinator Gwendolyn Meeks.
Republican Quick and Democrat Meeks are seeking election on Nov. 3 to the seat. The county board approved Quick, chief deputy in the circuit clerk’s office for 30 years, to serve Gardner’s remaining term after he retired June 30.
The Commercial-News sent election questionnaires to the candidates.
Quick, 49, of Alvin, is married to Kirby Quick and they have two children and two grandsons. Quick is a 1989 graduate of Catlin High School and has some college experience. She is former Village of Alvin Trustee and member of the Vermilion County Republican Woman’s Club.
Meeks, 60, Danville, works for Crosspoint Human Services as a legal advocate for domestic violence and care coordinator. She is married to Terry Meeks and has five children and nine grandchildren. High School: Austin High School, Chicago. College Degree received: Associate in Business, Robert Morris College; Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management, Concordia University. Currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in social work. Meeks worked in the circuit clerk’s office from 2009-2011. She says she has no previous political experience but a strong passion for serving, uplifting and supporting others.
1. Why did you decide to run/seek re-election to this office?
Quick: I have served the citizens of Vermilion County for the past 30 years and felt my knowledge of the office made me a good candidate.
Meeks: I decided to run for circuit clerk to make a change not only for the office but for the community as well. It is my strongest belief that the office needs someone who is willing to not only listen to the cares, concerns and needs of our community, but someone who is willing to take action and ensure that dignity is at the forefront of how their case is handled and processed.
2. What do you consider to be the most important issues concerning this office?
Meeks: I believe in building a community through respecting one another and having the appropriate training needed so that the office can be most efficient and effective to keep accurate records for all cases. It is important to take time to develop good relationships from a holistic perspective.
Quick: The most important issues we face are the maintaining of accurate court/financial records. We are responsible for reporting all financial and statistical records to the Administrative Office of Illinois Courts and Secretary of State’s Office.
3. What do you want the public to better understand about this office? What are challenges and how do you overcome them?
Quick: Our staff works in a very fast-paced environment. It is important to maintain accurate records in an efficient manner. We are responsible for all of the cases that are filed in Vermilion County and serve as court clerks to six resident judges. We are responsible for making minute entries and disposition each case as it passes through the system. The current challenges we face are keeping up with the new legislation/fines and fees that come our way twice a year. I attend training put on by the IACC to keep informed of the changes coming and how they affect our office.
Meeks: This office, the keeper of records, is one of the most important offices in the building. Employees work very hard under a lot of pressure. As an unfortunate truth, they are paid poorly and oftentimes overlooked. As you can imagine, this does not motivate them. You must have patience and knowledge in what you are doing and that comes with proper training. One mistake can cause a lot of damage, not only to the customer/client, but also to the clerk’s office. The challenge is ensuring that each employee is trained properly. However, you overcome this by properly training employees on the desk that they are assigned for six months to one year. This training should include the current system on which they are working.
4. What qualifications do you think make you the best candidate for this office?
Meeks: I’m qualified to be circuit clerk because of my experience working in several divisions of the office as deputy clerk: keeping the docket and schedule in court, etc. My degree in Organizational Management, relationship built with Crosspoint, New Directions and Citibank speaks for itself.
Quick: I have been employed in the circuit clerk’s office for the past 30 years, 28 of those in a supervisory capacity. I have served under five previous circuit clerks, both Democrat and Republican. I have established a working relationship with the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, Secretary of State’s Office and the Illinois Association of Court Clerks. I am familiar with the Manual on Recordkeeping and how it pertains to the running of our office.
5. Additional comments and information.
Meeks: Transparency in government is vitally important to all communities.