Due to the social distancing guidelines, we have converted our traditional AllOnGeorgia candidate video interviews into short questionnaires. Each candidate in the race was provided an identical questionnaire with the same deadline. Answers were not edited in any way.
The Primary Election was moved to June 9th.
The last day to register to vote in the primary is May 11th.
Early voting begins May 18th.
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Please provide a brief bio on yourself.
My name is Audra Battle Jennings and I am a native of Effingham County and the daughter of John and Jelane Pevey Battle. I am a graduate of Effingham County High School and continued my education in Southwest Georgia where I lived for over 20 years before returning home to care for my parents and uncle. I am the mother of 2 young men who also graduated from Effingham County High School and are both continuing their education at UGA and Ogeechee Tech.
What experience do you have that properly equips you for the position of Clerk of Court?
I spent my entire 30+ year career in public service and my chosen path has been the court system. For the last decade I have worked in courts that are in a larger jurisdiction. This affords me the experience that is not easily achieved in smaller counties with less staff. Being a supervisor and part of the administrative staff in a larger court provides the opportunity to experiment. Some ideas work while others do not on the day to day operation of the Clerk’s Office. My knowledge and experience also includes working with county budgets, personnel management, court processes, and systems configuration that are all key in getting the job done.
How do you view the day-to-day role of the Clerk of Court? (The balance between managing the office, working with other elected officials, and general public servant work; daily duties and responsibilities; etc.)
The responsibilities of the Effingham County Clerk of Courts includes Superior, State and Juvenile Court. The Clerk is a constitutional officer whose primary responsibility is maintaining and preserving all records pertaining to the courts. These records include Real Estate documents, financial transactions, and civil and criminal court records to name a few. I believe in putting commitment to the highest moral principles and upholding the constitution first and foremost. Establishing and fostering good working relationships with court personnel, elected officials and other departments in the county is key to supporting the integrity and transparency of the operation for the citizens of Effingham.
What practices are in place in the Clerk’s Office that you think are important to carry over into a new administration?
I am looking to succeed the retiring Clerk who is known state-wide for her devotion and hard work for this county. The office is known for its commitment to compliance with the Uniform Rules of Superior Court, state laws, state reporting requirements and providing excellent customer service to the public. I will work diligently to maintain the current practices that have made the office a success.
How can the Effingham County Clerk’s Office be more efficient?
I believe to make the office more efficient, you must first evaluate the office and determine what works well and what can be improved upon. That will range from court appearances, real estate filings and oversight of tax appeals. The Council of Superior Court Clerks provides many resources that can be implemented in less populated counties to reduce risk and provide checks and balances for accuracy. Other clerks organizations can also assist such as the Training Council, The Clerks Authority, the Association of Superior Court Clerks and the National Center for State Courts. The challenge will be effective implementation of these changes and ideas. This is where my experience gives me an advantage in affecting those changes more judiciously and can bring more opportunities for training and promotion to the office staff.
How can the Clerk’s Office be more transparent about activities and finances?
I plan to actively participate in the annual audit with Effingham County as well as any state agencies that require record audits. The office financial records will be open to auditors on demand. I will be open to meeting with civic groups and neighborhood associations at their request.
What types of practices do you plan to implement to advance the office technologically?
Part of making the office more efficient is evaluating the current technology that is in place. Changes are forthcoming as new laws from the state legislators are passed. The current system being used is MicroPact (formally Iron Data) and is now a division of Tyler Technologies. I will look to the company first for new enhancements and improvements in the court management software package that will be more cost effective. Then I will be an active participant in teleconferences, customer feedback and suggestions offered by the customer support team to continue with updates that may come from new legislation.
Will any other employment or business venture in which you are vested present a conflict of interest for you as Clerk of Court? Please explain your answer.
No, I have no other business interest. I am a professional public servant.
Why do you want to be the next Clerk of Court of Effingham County?
I’ve spent the last 30 years in public service and the last decade has been in the court systems of Chatham County. I am not a politician, I am a public servant. I love my career and wish to continue forward, by serving the citizens in the county where I grew up and live.
Is there anything else you would like the public to know about you?
Effingham County is growing and the office needs to be prepared to grow with it. My knowledge and experience in working with county budgets, personnel management, court processes, and systems configuration are key in getting the job done. My commitment is to you, the citizens of Effingham County.
If you would like to know more about my qualifications, I encourage you to contact me. You can reach me by email, message or phone at the following:
Address: PO Box 418, Guyton, GA 31312