By close of business Monday, five people had already tossed their hats in the ring as potential replacements — including two Sullivan County commissioners (one of which is chairman of the Sullivan County Republican Party), and Gammon’s daughter.
Gammon has worked in the county clerk’s office since the early 1970s. She said she remains passionate about keeping the office running in the manner she was taught by her predecessors in the top spot and will miss the job, but after much thought decided its time to enjoy spending more time with her family. At the end of her present four-year term, Gammon will have been county clerk for 20 years.
What will she miss the most?
“The people,” Gammon said. “I love the people in my office and throughout county government that I’ve worked with over the years. I will miss all my contacts. And I’ve always enjoyed working for the public. I’ve never forgotten that I’m an employee. ... I work for them. I’ve been working the drive-through (window for tag renewals) all day today. There have been people tell me that as a department head I don’t have to be in here every day. But I believe I do.”
Her departure could be one of several shifts in leadership of the county’s constitutional offices. Gammon is one of only two Democrats currently serving as a constitutional officeholder in Sullivan County.
The job pays $94,719 per year. Other than being at least 18 years old and a resident of the county, there are no requirements to run for or hold the job. There are a few things that can disqualify a would-be candidate for the job, including: being a member of Congress; being in default to the treasury at the time of the election; having been convicted of ... any offense declared infamous by law, unless having had citizenship restored as prescribed by law.
The duties of the county clerk include, among other things: issuing business licenses; issuing car tags; issuing marriage licenses; keeping minutes of monthly County Commission meetings; and maintaining a record of authorized notaries.
As of Monday, the following would-be candidates had picked up the initial paperwork to start the process of getting on party primary ballots in May:
• Chelsea Gammon Ketron, Republican.
• Sullivan County Commissioner Cheryl Russell, chairman of the Sullivan County Republican Party, Republican.
• Sullivan County Commissioner Mark A. Vance, Republican.
• Travis Ward, Republican.
• Jane Davis, Democrat.
Both Russell and Vance also have picked up paperwork to seek re-election to their respective seats on the Sullivan County Commission.
Ward has also picked up a petition to seek the office of circuit court clerk.