HAZARD — For the past 26 years Roger Collins has worked in the public sector, first as a school teacher, then as Perry County’s property valuation administrator, and for the past 12 years as the county’s circuit court clerk.
On Dec. 31, Collins’ public career will come to end, but he says he expects to remain busy one way or another.
The circuit clerk’s office maintains court files in circuit and district courts, as well as ensuring that the public has access to files and, among other things, issues drivers’ licenses. In short, the clerk’s office plays an important role in ensuring that the courts run smoothly and that they operate transparently. For the past 12 years, that’s what Collins’ office has done. And he noted that for courts that have above average caseloads, like they do here in Perry County, it’s not an easy job, but it’s one his office has handled well.
“It’s a busy office, but I’ve really enjoyed it,” Collins said last week, adding that representatives with Administrative Office of the Courts have paid three visits to his office this year and generally gave his office good marks, as has the public. And it’s the public that Collins said he’ll likely miss most once he leaves office.
“I’ll just miss being around people and working with the people,” he said. “They’ve always been nice to me, and it’s been good over all these years.”
Collins, who worked for 18 years in the coal industry before working for a time as a teacher, won his first two terms in the circuit clerk’s office while running unopposed. He ran for re-election in 2012, though this time he had opposition and lost in the Democratic primary to Charles Patterson, who went on to win in November and will officially take office for a six-year term at the beginning of 2013.
Collins added that he feels lucky to have run during his first two terms as circuit clerk unopposed, as that seldom happens in elected office. For now, Collins said he doesn’t have any plans after he leaves office, but he expects that he’ll be able to fund himself busy and keep active. And after 44 years of working, he added that he’s ready for a break.
“I have no qualms about anything, and I’ll do what I can if anything to help the courts out,” he said. “But I’ll still be around. I’m not going to Lexington or anything.”