Black will not seek re-election

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By Nick Schrager

Glenn Black has been a public servant his entire adult life, and after 15 years in office, he’s hanging his hat up for good.

Black, who has been the county clerk since 2003, has announced he will not seek re-election next year.

“I think it’s time to go ahead and retire,” Black said in a quiet room in the back of his office. “I’ve been in some form of public service for nearly 50 years.”

Folks who know Black from his time as clerk may not know that he was an educator for 34 years prior to that.

Thirty-one of those years, he said, were spent in Washington County.

“I was getting close to retirement for teaching,” Black said. “I was really too young to retire, though.”

And that’s what made him want to run for office.

Black first ran for his position in 1999, but lost the election to the incumbent, Bubba Robertson, who had been clerk for 33 years at the time.

“I got beat by six votes,” Black said.

The narrow defeat inspired him to run again in 2002. He won that time, and took office in 2003.

Black has watched the world change during his time in office, but one thing has remained the same, his job.

“There’s just more of it,” he said with a smile. “Most people think it’s just the car plates and collecting taxes are all we do…”

He said vehicle plates and taxed are a majority of what the office handles, but there are many other aspects as well. The clerk’s office is also responsible for setting up elections and keeps records of everything that needs to be recorded.

“Deeds, taxes, mortgages, marriage licenses, wills… anything that’s basically a record to be kept is filed here,” he said.

One thing Black enjoys about his position is talking with the public and helping them in any way that he can.

“The people of Washington County has been good to me over the years,” Black said. “So, I can’t fuss.”

And fuss he doesn’t.

He said he’s going to miss seeing all the people come in, regardless if they’re in a good mood or not.

“Most of those that come in unhappy realize that what’s got to be had got to be,” he said.

Black said the job comes with many challenges, but the biggest one right now is finding more space for the office to grow.

“The next clerk is going to have to have more room in order to store stuff,” Black said. “To do it correctly.”

Another challenge he said is learning everything that goes on. He said he couldn’t do the job without the help from the girls on his staff, and they have been instrumental in doing the day-to-day operations there.

“Really, I don’t know that one person can learn it all,” Black said. “I couldn’t … the girls have been very good to me.”

Now that his career is slowly coming to an end, the one thing he’s most proud of is saving the county money and returning excess fees to fiscal court each year.

“I’ve turned over somewhere between $60-$70,000 each year for the last eight years,” Black said. “I’ve tried to be a good steward of the county’s money. It’s not my money, it’s not the office’s money; it’s the county an state’s money.”