Chancery clerk not running for re-election

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, December 24, 2014

NATCHEZ — After holding the office for nearly 27 years, Adams County Chancery Clerk Tommy O’Beirne announced Tuesday he would not seek an eighth term in office.

O’Beirne said his decision was prompted by a desire to explore other opportunities, though none of those are concrete at this time.

“I have enjoyed my work in the courthouse, and I have enjoyed working with the Board of Supervisors and helping them implement their orders and wishes,” he said.

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O’Beirne serves as the keeper of records for the county and a key part of that duty is clerking for the board of supervisors and enshrining the outcomes of their meetings in the official minutes.

Coupled with President Darryl Grennell’s recent announcement he would not seek re-election, this means the two most senior members at the table of Adams County’s governing body will be replaced in January 2016.

In addition to working with the board, the chancery clerk is tasked with filing, imaging and recording all court papers, including the issuance of subpoenas and providing all legal notices.

The clerk is involved in all mental, alcohol and drug commitment hearings, and serves as comptroller for the county, having the responsibility of paying all claims and payroll.

Prior to running for office, O’Beirne practiced law and served on the board of the Adams Jefferson Investment Corporation — now Adams Jefferson Franklin Claiborne Community Action Agency — and the Natchez Board of Adjustment.

He also served on the boards of the Mental Health Association and the Heart Association.

O’Beirne was first elected to office as county prosecutor, completing the unexpired term of Edwin Benoist before being elected to a second full term.

In 1975, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and served one term.

O’Beirne said working with organizations that accomplished good in the community and his own knowledge of the legal work prompted him to run for office.

“When I was elected chancery clerk, I thought that my being an attorney — and knowing how a lot of the clerk’s function involves working with a lot of instruments and with attorneys — could prove helpful,” he said.

O’Beirne said before he leaves office he will finish two projects, the imaging of court documents and an electronic filing system.

“Once (the e-filing system is online), an attorney or their clerk will be able to sit at their desk, enter the information, hit the button and it will come directly to us and be filed,” he said.

O’Beirne said he will be happy to work with whoever is elected as his successor.

“Whoever is elected, I will be happy to help teach them, to make the transition as smooth as possible,” he said.

Qualifying begins Jan. 1 and ends Feb. 27.