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New Adams County clerk starts work

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | July 14, 2021 1:00 AM

RITZVILLE — Katie Sloan was sworn in June 30 and started her new job July 1 as the new Adams County Clerk.

She replaces former clerk Paulette J. Teski, who retired from the job June 30.

While it’s an elective office, the clerk works with the superior court system. The clerk’s office files all superior court proceedings, both civil and criminal. That includes everything from lawsuits and wills to criminal sentencing and the record of court proceedings. It’s also part of the job of the clerk’s office to assure all records are accurately kept.

“It’s the office that assures there’s a public record of all superior court proceedings,” Sloan said. “I feel like it’s a really important office.”

The clerk’s office staff has to work with other agencies, coordinate and cooperate with them, as well as be accessible to the public. That means being able to help whoever walks in the door, from an attorney looking for records to someone on a first visit who’s trying to file a will.

“There are a lot of moving parts,” she said.

One of her goals, she said, is to increase the use of technology, especially in light of a push from state authorities to do as much of the work as possible digitally.

Sloan said she wants to make it possible for people to pay fees or fines online using a bank or credit card. That’s especially important since a lot of people using the clerk’s office don’t live in Adams County. Currently, people paying fees or fines have to mail in checks or money orders, or go to the office and pay in cash.

County officials also must work on addressing the fallout from a decision handed down earlier this year by the Washington Supreme Court, which changed the rules for certain classes of drug possession.

The decision invalidated some convictions, so superior court personnel will have to refund money, as well as revise records to reflect the invalidation of the convictions.

Prior to being appointed as clerk, Sloan was the Adams County Superior Court administrator. It was her job to arrange the court calendar, keep track of out-of-county cases, and schedule public defenders and interpreters when they were needed.

“I made sure people showed up at places they needed to be,” she said.

When the clerk’s job came open Sloan said she thought it was a job she could do, and one that appealed to her.

“I enjoy public service, I guess,” she said.

She worked in a private law office in Ritzville before taking the job as court administrator, she said. Before moving to Ritzville, she was the clerk-treasurer for the town of Starbuck.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at cschweizer@columbiabasinherald.com.