Lucretia Houts is running unopposed to keep her job as Trenton city
clerk, and she wants to thank voters for their confidence in her. Ms.
Houts, who first won election in 1989, believes herself to be the
last elected city clerk in Georgia.
By: Robin Ford Wallace, Reporter
City Clerk Lucretia Houts refers, to her “boss,” she waves her hand out the
window of her City Hall office at the town of Trenton at large. “I work for the
voters,” she says.
something all public servants say, but in Ms. Houts’ case it is literally true.
As probably the only elected city clerk in the state of Georgia (see related
article on page 2), she serves not at the pleasure of the mayor or city
commission but directly at the people’s. Thus, two or three commissioners can’t
take a dislike to Ms. Houts and gang up and fire her. Only the voters can do
that, and since 1989, they’ve done no such thing.
So although Ms.
Houts is unopposed in the upcoming city election, the Sentinel wished to
introduce her to any residents who don’t know her, and Ms. Hout herself was
eager for a chance to express her gratitude to the loyal electorate.
“I’d just like
to thank all the city residents and voters who have elected me for the past 24
years, with four additional years coming up,” she said. “I appreciate the
Ms. Houts ran
for the first time in 1989. At that point, the clerkship had been a full-time
job – the only elected full-time position in Trenton city government – only
since the city charter was adopted in 1987. Previous to that, the clerk
functions had been performed by a part-time elected “city recorder.”
Ms. Houts did
not have to face an incumbent in 1989, she said, the previous city clerk, Doris
Tatum, having resigned. “But that first election that I ran in, there were four
different people in the race,” she said.
“I won by two-thirds.”
After her first
four-year term was up, she recalled, some of those contenders showed back up
for a rematch at the next election. That stayed the norm; only in the 2009
election and this year has she run unchallenged.
As she spoke to
the Sentinel, Ms. Houts was ripping open invoices. As city clerk, she is in
charge of the day-to-day administration of the town. “We do all the city
taxes,” she said. “All the tickets that are written in the city, we handle
those. Business licenses, whatever needs to be done – payroll, and we do the
budgets, all the financial stuff pertaining to the city.”
for the clerkship, Ms. Houts worked as an insurance billing clerk for Blue
Cross and as a produce manager for Shop-Rite.
She also operated an independent cleaning service.
Ms. Houts has one adult son and is the doting grandmother of one boy and one
city election is on Nov. 5, and early voting started this Monday.