Vines: Taking over office a ‘challenge’

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 8, 2000

New Adams County Circuit Clerk M.L. &uot;Binkey&uot; Vines can describe his first few days in office in one word — hectic.

Since being sworn into office last week, Vines and his staff have been working long hours and weekends straightening the office and finishing back-logged work, Vines said.

The staff has been working from 7 a.m. until after 9 p.m. each day.

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&uot;It’s amazing how hard they’re working,&uot; Vines said. &uot;They’re not even taking lunch hours.&uot;

Court business is also brisk. Youth court and circuit court have been meeting this week, and Circuit Court Judge Lillie Blackmon Sanders will begin her January trial session next week.

Vines said he expects 300 perspective jurors to come to court next week for the session.

&uot;It’s a challenge, but everybody is working hard,&uot; he said. &uot;I’m so proud of the people on my staff.&uot;

Vines defeated incumbent Fred Ferguson in the November general election.

Vines said he is working to improve the office and make its computer system more accessible.

People have complained that the office’s computer system is not user friendly and does not include needed information, Vines said. He plans to meet with local attorneys in February for additional input.

&uot;If the county money is going to be used for (the computers),&uot; Vines said. &uot;It’s going to be something that can be used.&uot;

He eventually wants to get the office’s files on the Internet and to purge the voter rolls.

Vines said he realized this needed to be done when he found out several people who were summoned for jury duty next week are deceased.

Since taking office, Vines said six workers employed under Ferguson’s administration have been removed.

New employees he hired include deputy chief Harry Lee Gaylor, deputy clerks Jackie Nichols and Louise Barns and bookkeeper William Kennon. Kennon is also over finances and the office’s computer system, Vines said. Former employees, Melinda Stanley and Pookey Franks still work at the office.

The staff reduction is to help streamline the office and make it more efficient, Vines said.