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Judge appoints Wagoner to fill county clerk’s job

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By Bryan Marshall

A new face is in charge of the Grant County Clerk’s Office as the new year begins.
Leatha Conrad, a long-time fixture at the clerk’s office, retired at the end of 2013 leaving her position vacant.

Judge-Executive Darrell Link has appointed Williamstown resident Layne Wagoner to fill the remaining year on Conrad’s term.

“I’m humbled that the judge would have confidence in me to step in that role,” Wagoner said. “I’ve got big shoes to fill. I just hope I can live up to the expectation and standards that have been set.”

Wagoner was a community banker for about 15 years in Grant County and served as county treasurer for 10 years

He spent the past four years as director of budget and finance for the state Justice and Public Safety Cabinet.

“Layne served the county well and with integrity in the past when he was treasurer, and I am confident in handing the keys of the office of clerk to Layne and further trust that Layne will serve out the year with dignity and honor,” Link said.
In his first week in office, Wagoner said he is still getting his feet wet.

“I hope the people of the community be patient with us,” he said. “I’m learning. I’ve got a great staff. To be honest, I’d be lost without them. We hope to serve the public in the capacity they’re used to.”

Six candidates have already filed to run for clerk in the upcoming election.
Wagoner said he sees himself in an interim role and will not seek the position in the election.

The three Democrat candidates are Tabatha Clemons, Vicki Vance and Crystal Fryman.
The Republican candidates are Missy Preston, Charlotte Schmidt and Elliot “Eli” Anderson.

Two candidates who have filed for the position — Vance, who currently works in the clerk’s office, and Fryman, who works in the City of Williamstown clerk’s office — submitted resumes to Link for consideration of being appointed to fill the vacancy left by Conrad’s retirement.

Link said his decision to choose Wagoner should not be perceived as a slight to Fryman and Vance, who he said would be great clerks.

“In the end, I went against my own philosophy and appointed the person that has not filed to be on the ballot next year,” Link said. “As you know, it is my duty and responsibility to fill vacancies in office such as county attorney, sheriff and jailer when they become vacant, but it seems these appointments have  not been popular with our voters in the past and consequently the appointee is held hostage to my forced judgment. So, in this case, I hope that all those that have filed have a level playing field and are considered based upon their own merits and work ethic when the voters go to the polls.”