Gilmer Probate recognizes Clerks state certification

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer County’s Probate Office has recognized achievements for two of its clerks as they have reached 90 hours of state training to become “Certified Probate Clerks.”

Clerks

Probate Clerk Jennifer West, right, receives her certification from Gilmer Probate Judge Scott Chastain, left.

Probate Judge Scott Chastain presented both Jennifer Carney and Jennifer West with certificates for their state certification at a ceremony this week.

Chastain said, “Carney is a deputy probate clerk who focuses most of her time on probate matters, but is also very capable of doing just about anything that needs to be done in the office. West is a deputy probate clerk who focuses most of her time assisting citizens with general questions, marriage licenses, weapon carry licenses, paying traffic citations, death and birth certificates and many other duties at the front window.”

The training is administered and approved by the Institute of Continuing Judicial Education and the Council of Probate Judges. Chastain noted last year that these programs offer a recognition for 30 hours and 60 hours of training for the program.

Speaking to both Carney and West, Chastain said, “I am extremely proud of these ladies and their tremendous accomplishment.”

Clerks

Probate Clerk Jennifer Carney, right, receives her certification from Gilmer Probate Judge Scott Chastain, left.

While this week celebrated and recognized these two clerks for their accomplishments, this day also represents another step for the Probate Office. In April 2019, Judge Chastain stated a goal that he wanted to have all five staff members state certified.

Now, with the completion of the 90-hour certification program, Gilmer County now has all five of the probate clerks state certified. This is includes Jennifer Carney, Jana Grno, Lyndsay Hightower, Tracey Teague, and Jennifer West. The previous three, Jana Grno, Tracey Teague, and Lyndsay Hightower, were recognized last April.

With this, according to Chastain, there are currently 12 Probate Offices in the state of Georgia that have all of their clerk’s state certified. However, Chastain added, “I believe Gilmer County is the only county in Georgia that has a staff of five and all of them are certified.”

Probate Court gets Associate Judge

News

ELLIJAY, GA. – Gilmer County’s Probate Court Judge Scott Chastain is naming a new Associate Judge in the office.

Tracey Teague was the name mentioned during meetings as Chastain began speaking with the Board of Commissioners about the promotion to fill in for him in certain situations. He also said that he was told he had to bring the request to the Board of Commissioners as the position normally comes with a pay increase along with an increase in responsibilities. Because of the pay increase, it becomes a budgetary issue.

Tracy Teague, Judge

Gilmer County Probate Court Associate Judge Tracey Teague

Chastain said that he needed the Associate Judge for times when he may be away for training courses or other matters requiring him to be out of the county. He told the Commissioners that he, historically, has had the Pickens County Probate Judge fill in in times like this. However, with the recent virus outbreak, several Probate Judges have been exposed to COVID and a statewide recommendation has suggested that Probate Offices consider appointing someone to this position so that there will be support as well as a clear fill-in should something happen or to cover the possibility of a death.

The position is appointed by Chastain serves at his leisure and can be replaced whenever the Judges wishes. However, initial appointment and establishment of the position goes back to the previously mentioned budgetary requirements for the board.

Scott Chastain, Judge

Gilmer County Probate Judge Scott Chastain

Also, the appointment shall only last as long as he stays in office, the new Judge could decide and appoint a new associate as they wish.

Teague, since approved, will step in a serve whenever Chastain requests for her to fill in due to an absence. A prime example of such needs came mere months ago when Scott Chastain tested positive for COVID-19. In that situation, it would have fallen to Teague to carry on until he returned.

The approval for Teague came with a caveat that the position was approved. But the Board made comments that the position’s pay increase would be put in with the budget requests as normal and was not approved in the same motion.

Teague was announced as Judge Chastain’s Chief Clerk in 2019 and had already served as Chief Clerk under Judge Mullins. She handles much of the requirements in traffic court, and Chastain previously that he already uses her as Chief Clerk for certain administration needs when he is out of the office.

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