Tim Rhodes best pick for Oklahoma County court clerk
The Oklahoman Editorial
Published: August 24, 2012
On Tuesday, Republican voters will fill an important but often-overlooked office: Oklahoma County court clerk. Only Republicans filed for the post, so the next court clerk will be chosen in a runoff election pitting Tim Rhodes, the current chief deputy of the office, and state Rep. Charles Key of Bethany.
The Oklahoman believes Rhodes’ experience, professional background and proven competence make him the right man for the job.
The Oklahoma County court clerk’s office is the largest and busiest of its kind in Oklahoma. It handled roughly 125,000 court cases last year; the growth in the number of filings has been about 5 percent annually.
The office is tasked with collecting everything from legal fees to fines to child support payments. It took in more than $70 million last year. Forty programs are funded through those collections. In recent years, the office has adopted modernization initiatives that digitized many records and automated jury processing.
These changes, which Rhodes helped implement, saved taxpayer dollars, eliminated unnecessary hassles for citizens and facilitated timely trials. Some 17,000 jurors are summoned in Oklahoma County each year.
The court clerk is also a member of the county budget board and helps craft the budget. Rhodes has been deputy for more than 15 years, serving with incumbent Patricia Presley, a Democrat who declined to seek another term. During Rhodes’ time in office, the clerk’s office workload has increased 75 percent, yet it employs about the same number of people today as in 1997. The operating budget has actually decreased in recent years.
Those who’ve worked with Rhodes are clearly impressed, as reflected in endorsements. He has the support of numerous past presidents of the Oklahoma County Bar Association, as well as County Commissioner Ray Vaughn, County Treasurer Butch Freeman, County Clerk Carolynn Caudill, County Assessor Leonard Sullivan and former Gov. Frank Keating. On the other hand, Key’s background isn’t relevant to service as court clerk. Ironically for a smaller-government firebrand, his main motivation seems to be the pursuit of another government paycheck, now that he’s termed out of the Legislature. Key simply isn’t qualified for the office. His campaign materials don’t even focus on the clerk’s core job functions.
When the clerk’s office is managed well, voters will seldom hear of the office. But if the wrong person is elected, the potential for chaos affecting thousands of citizens and tens of millions of dollars is possible. In a low-key follow-up to a low-key primary election in June, the runoff would be easy to overlook.
The importance of this office makes it imperative that Republicans turn out to vote Tuesday and select Tim Rhodes. He will keep doing what he’s been doing, just at a higher level, ensuring that the office remains innovative, efficient and professional.
EDMOND — On Tuesday, Republican voters in Oklahoma County will be asked to choose between two men to serve as the next court clerk for the county. Tim Rhodes and Rep. Charles Key came out of four Republicans in the June primary election to vie for the spot. The primary runoff election will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.
This election features an office that really requires more of an able administrator than the need for a politician. The court clerk serves as a specialized administrator of the courts. The person fulfilling this role should have a sound understanding of the court system and of the needs of taxpayers and all of those served by the courts.
When weighing the two candidates’ qualifications, we believe Rhodes provides the most experience and understanding of the office. He has 15 years as chief deputy court clerk, having served with retiring Court Clerk Patricia Presley. Rhodes also is an attorney and was a special judge for Oklahoma City in his career. He understands the needs of the judicial system and the many people served by this system.
Rhodes states that one of his main aims if elected is to finish the office’s transition to e-filing of court records. This is a tremendous task that holds critical importance for all citizens. Overseeing this process in a timely and financially responsible manner should be the priority of whomever is elected to the position. We believe Rhodes has the experience and knowledge to finish the job.
We encourage all eligible voters to read about the candidates and decide for themselves who will best serve Oklahoma County. The most important task ahead of Republican voters this Tuesday is making the time to go out and vote.
The Oklahoman, June 19, 2012
Tim Rhodes might be seen as heir apparent, having served 15 years under retiring Oklahoma County Court Clerk Patricia Presley. But his challengers say they are running to change the status quo. Rhodes said his work in executive management at the office qualifies him more than the others. He said he is proud of the work he’s done under Presley, and that the office under their leadership made tough decisions necessary to remain solvent and efficient. “We have documented a record of being fiscally conservative,” he said. “We’ve cut our budgets that last four years by a total of 20 percent overall, our staffing is down about 20 percent from previous years as well. We’re doing more with less.” He said the county office under his and Presley’s leadership cut 90 percent of its paperwork by introducing electronic filing. He said morale is high, and the office has a good track record on customer service.”When we don’t need as many people to handle paper, we’ll have more resources to keep the brightest and best in our office,” he said.
Capitol Hill Beacon, June 28, 2012
“Tim Rhodes has been Chief Deputy since 1997 and should be elected to
fill the office vacated by Patricia Presley who is retiring. A letter
from county officials Carolynn Caudill, Butch Freeman and Ray Vaughn
endorse rhodes, along with all 19 living former County Bar Association
Presidents. The office requires meticulous record keeping and makes no
policy requiring a big time political figure such as Charles Key who
is seeking an office after being term limited out of the House of
Edmond Life & Leisure, June 26
There are a bevy of candidates in the primary for this office with a
variety of agendas. The only one who has taken the time to come and
introduce himself is Tim Rhodes. He has asked for our endorsement and
we are glad to give it to him. Rhodes has the experience under Presley
to continue and make things run smoothly at the Court Clerk’s office.
That is important to the folks who use this office on a daily basis.
We would encourage you to cast your vote for Rhodes. – Ray Hibbard
OKC Friday, June 22, 2012
Hire the educated, experienced TIM RHODES, over 4 less qualified candidates.
Article from the Edmond Sun
Chief Deputy to run for court clerk
Tim Rhodes does not have experience as a politician but relies on his experience as chief deputy court clerk in his bid to succeed retiring Oklahoma County Court Clerk Patricia Presley.
For 15 years Rhodes has worked to develop and implement all court clerk programs.
“Experience counts, institutional knowledge does count,” said Rhodes, R-Oklahoma City. “I think that’s a benefit to the taxpayer to continue the continuity, to continue on the programs we have planned and render even more efficiencies and services for the citizens.”
So far, two other candidates have announced their attentions to run for Oklahoma County Court Clerk. State Rep. Charles Key, R-Oklahoma City, has announced his candidacy. Key’s term is limited to 2012. Also running is Salome Vaughn, R-Edmond. Vaughn is president and CEO of Career Futures, a staffing agency for paralegal placement. She also owns a land transportation firm.
A former special judge for the city of Oklahoma City, Rhodes earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism degree at the University of Oklahoma where he went on to earn his juris doctorate. He is married and the father of two twin boys, age 16.