— By JUDY SHERIDAN
County Clerk-Voter Registrar Jeane Brunson, a Republican, has announced she will file for a sixth four-year term in November.
“I’ve really enjoyed serving; I’m just not through yet,” she said. “There are projects left undone.”
Brunson, 62, was first appointed to her position in February 1993 to fill the unexpired term of Carrie Reid, who retired.
Prior to that she served as court coordinator for County Judge Harris Worcester.
First elected in 1994, Brunson now oversees the criminal and civil courts of County Court at Law I, including Probate Court, the criminal and civil courts of County Court at Law II and the Records and Deeds Office, supervising 22 employees.
“My strength is 20-plus years of experience and a vast knowledge of the law,” she said.
Brunson said her greatest challenge through the years has been keeping up with the ever-changing statutes and laws for the duties and responsibilities of her office.“The office of county clerk is governed by statutes,” she said, “and [the state] continues to add more responsibilities.”
Having been at her post since the days of the typewriter, Brunson said one of her goals before retiring is to see the new software installed countywide for the court system.
“I have a good knowledge of what is necessary for the software to operate properly for my courts,” she said, “and I want to be in on the ground floor to make sure the software is what the county courts-at-law and probate court need to continue their accurate and smooth operation.”
Another project Brunson wants to see through is a plan to preserve and archive historical records, a project she successfully urged Parker County commissioners to approve about six years ago.
The plan, which originated with a state statute, allows counties to adopt a records archive fee to pay for the preservation and restoration of public documents.
Brunson said adding the $5 user fee to each document to be filed has allowed her to save about $370,000 to date.
“We will start the project by the first of the year to restore my historical books,” she said, “I have removed them from the shelves and put them in a vault.”
Brunson said she has identified 1,013 record and deed volumes with discolored and brittle pages.
One document, dated 1873, shows the transfer of 44.3 acres of land from Gov. Edmund Davis to Oliver Loving. Another document, filed in 1876, was the first filed in Parker County records after a fire destroyed all previously existing records and deeds.
The archival plan — estimated to take about five years — also includes digitizing records, re-indexing handwritten indexed records and entering images and data into a computerized system to allow public access through the Internet.
“It’s very exciting when you love your county, the people, the history,” Brunson said. “For 20 years, this county has been my family.”
If she is successful in her re-election bid, she said, it will be her final term.
“I will turn 65 during that term, and I do have 13 grandchildren,” she said. “It’s time to enjoy them.”