Hinton wants to continue to be Yamhill County clerk
If elected as Yamhill County's next clerk, Keri Hinton will be in familiar territory, having served in the position for the past several months, named assistant clerk in late 2021.
The 49-year-old served under former clerk Brian Van Bergen until his departure in early July to take a job in Marion County. Fortunately, as Van Bergen would soon lose his job due to term limits. Hinton was appointed in June by the Board of Commissioners to complete Van Bergen's term through the end of the year.
Hinton appears well versed on Yamhill County government in general, having served in a variety of roles.
"I have worked for the county for over eight years, with seven-and-a-half being an executive administrator for the commissioners, county administrator and provided support to other departments," she said in an email interview.
Hinton — a high school grad with continuing education classes in bookkeeping, accounting and office management under her belt — has definite ideas on the myriad duties with which the clerk is charged.
"The primary responsibility of a county clerk is that they are the official record keeper of the county, the recorder of land deeds and liens; the record keeper of the commissioners' journal; the clerk to the Board of Property Tax Appeals; issuer of marriage licenses; perform civil marriage ceremonies; issues county business licenses; passport acceptance officer and last but not least, chief elections officer," she said.
Hinton is in the unique position of running for an office she currently holds, yet has only begun to get her feet wet.
"There are always challenges in any new position, whether it's in the private sector or the elected world," she said. "It shouldn't stop anyone from making sure that everything keeps moving forward and staying on task to ensure the success of the department as a whole."
If elected, Hinton will face and implement an increasingly complex landscape of laws handed down by the Legislature.
"There are changes that have already happened this year with new legislation," she said. "The clerk, along with staff, must always be ready to move and implement new processes or make adjustments to existing ones in order to navigate the ever-changing world we live in. There is always going to be constant change in order for the different functions of the clerk's office to continue to advance and grow in a secure and safe environment while making sure that the utmost care is taken to be transparent and yet preserve the process."
Following the lead of her predecessor, Hinton is determined to ensure that the county's elections continue to be safe and accurate.
"My highest priority is to continue to make sure that Yamhill County continues forward with the most secure and safe elections as well as efficiently and effectively performing all of the other services we provide citizens each and every day," she said.
Hinton is still getting used to the idea of being Yamhill County clerk.
"This is not something that I knew was coming, so I am still wrapping my head around the last 10 months," she said. "The bottom line is that I care about the county and its citizens and someone like myself who is already invested is a perfect candidate because not only do I know the hard work that has already been put into this office, but I am willing and able to continue the hard work. It is not an easy job, there are many moving pieces and details that need 100% attention at all times, but I am committed to this office and the citizens of Yamhill County for the long haul."
The deadline to file for the position is Aug. 30. As of Aug. 11, the only person to have filed for the position is Newberg resident Corey Fribley, who submitted his paperwork on July 7. Fribley's form was short on information, but he described himself as a retail manager and a graduate of Tualatin High School.
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