County Clerk Carol Maggard said May 2 that she will not run for reelection to the position she has held almost 16 years.
Maggard joined county government as deputy county clerk in 1985. After 11 years in the clerk’s office, she was elected county clerk in 1996. That was the only election Maggard had competition in — from a coworker in the clerk’s office.
She said 16 years is long enough in an elected office, and the death of her husband, Dick Maggard, in March contributed to her decision.
“Losing my husband earlier this year has put a different perspective on life and just how short it is, so I plan to make every minute count, whether it is seeing new places, visiting family, or just being at home,” Maggard said.
She wants to travel after her retirement, but she doesn’t have any definite plans yet.
“I never dreamed I would work in local government, but my 27 years here have been very rewarding,” she said. “It has been a far cry from being a secondary school teacher directing plays and teaching English.”
It may be surprising to hear from someone who has spent 27 years working in county government, but making many friends is the first thing that comes to Maggard’s mind thinking about what she will take away from her time in office.
“The position probably isn’t as volatile,” she said, comparing it to the jobs of county treasurer and appraiser.
Because the appraiser and treasurer are the names residents see when they get their property values and tax bills, respectively, those offices catch a lot of flak that they don’t deserve, Maggard said. In contrast, even after 16 years on the job, she expects there are plenty of people in Marion County who don’t know who the county clerk is.
Going to work every morning wasn’t always easy. Maggard broke both ankles in 1994, two years before the elevator was installed in the courthouse. There was no way to get to the clerk’s office without going up stairs, so she had to navigate the stairs with a walker, crutches, cane, and casts.
Monitoring and administering elections is one of the major duties of county clerk, and Maggard oversaw the transition from counting ballots by hand to scanning them electronically. Before the change, ballots were counted at each poll site, then results were brought back and read aloud in the clerk’s office.
The longest night tallying election results continued to 7 a.m. the following morning.
“I went home for an hour and came back to work at 8 a.m.,” Maggard said. “The office staff split the work hours for election day and the day after. I just happened to get the straw for the early shift.”
She said the courthouse building is special to her, and she hopes her successor will take the same interest in preserving its history.
With Maggard’s decision not to seek reelection, Deputy County Clerk Tina Spencer is collecting signatures on a petition to be on the ballot. Maggard estimated Spencer has worked in the clerk’s office about seven years.
“I certainly have enjoyed serving the public and feel that I have given my best to Marion County,” she said. “My time here has certainly taught me to expect the unexpected and try to make the best of the situation.
“I will truly miss coming here and working every day, but I will also be glad to sleep in and hear the courthouse clock chiming 7 or maybe 8,” Maggard said.