After serving Coffee County as Circuit Court Clerk for over 26 years, Heather Hinds Duncan has notified the Coffee County Mayor and the Coffee County Commission that she will be vacating the office effective January 31, 2021. She has accepted a different position.
“Serving the citizens of Coffee County has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. I have thoroughly enjoyed my career as Circuit Court Clerk,” said Duncan “The friendships I have made and the things I have learned while here will always be with me. I have so many wonderful memories at the Coffee County Justice Center.”
The Circuit Court Clerk is responsible for maintaining all court files for the Circuit, General Sessions, and Juvenile Courts. In addition, the Clerk prepares the court dockets, attends each session of court, and maintains the minutes of the Court. The Circuit Court Clerk collects all fines, costs, litigation taxes, and restitution ordered by the Court.
Duncan last won re-election in 2018 – a four-year term.
It is unclear how the position will be filled. Thunder Radio has reached out to Coffee County Mayor Gary Cordell for clarification and as yet to receive a response. Duncan commented to Thunder Radio that she thought a judge would assign a temporary replacement. Thunder Radio will work to clarify the next steps moving forward.
“In 1994 when I was first elected, Judge Gerald Ewell and Judge John Rollins were our Circuit Judges. We only had one full-time General Sessions Judge, Tim Brock, and our Juvenile Judge was only a part time position. Over time our case load grew to a point that we needed another full-time General Sessions Judge who would assume the role of Juvenile Judge as well,” stated Duncan
In a career that spans three decades, county government and the court system have seen many changes during her tenure.
“We had an office of 23 employees with no computer system when I started. We were accounting for all cases and court costs by hand,” explained Duncan. “Within my first year, we automated and today we use technology in every office function. We now have an additional judge, hundreds of Bonnaroo cases each year, a drug court, automated traffic citations just to name a few of the many changes. Our caseload has grown tremendously and we are collecting millions of dollars for Coffee County and the state of Tennessee, but our staff size has only increased by one.
“I am thankful for the amazing staff that I have spent my workdays with each day. They are smart, capable people who know the importance of their jobs and will continue to do a professional, efficient, and courteous job of serving the people of Coffee County.
“I have worked very hard to display the values that I was raised on during my time in office. It has been my goal to treat every citizen in a kind and respectful way. I have done my best to ensure that dealings with the Circuit Court Clerk’s office added to the professionalism of and respect for the Coffee County court system.
“I appreciate Judge Craig Johnson, Judge Vanessa Jackson, Judge Jere Ledsinger and Judge Greg Perry and the members of the Coffee County Bar Association who have been an important part of my professional life and for whom I share many close personal friendships. We are blessed in Coffee County with a well-respected judicial system.
“I have enjoyed a positive working relationship with so many of the other elected officials and department heads in Coffee County. I treasure the relationships we have shared over the years.
“I am grateful to my husband, John, and our four beautiful children (and our precious daughter-in-law) for their continued love and support. They have graciously enjoyed and endured the life of a wife and mother who was always on duty as a public official.”
Duncan went on to state how thankful she is for the voters of Coffee County giving her multiple terms as an elected official with the county.
“I am forever thankful to the voters of Coffee County for giving me the opportunity to serve as Circuit Court Clerk. I leave with great gratification that I have tirelessly given my time, energy, and effort to make your experience with this office a very positive one. I appreciate the faith you have placed in me over the past 26 years and for the opportunity to spend these years in a job that I have loved so dearly.”