EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH, La. (WAFB) - There are no term limits for the clerk of court office in East Baton Rouge Parish. Doug Welborn is now in his seventh term and has been the clerk for 28 years, but a well-known city councilwoman is trying to shake things up at City Hall.
Donna Collins-Lewis has been on the Baton Rouge Metro Council for the last 11 years and thinks it’s time for a change of power.
“For the last 30 years, I have experience as an elected official, an administrator running non-profit organizations, developing affordable housing, which takes really great care and concern with oversight of budgets, making sure that projects come in on time,” Collins-Lewis said. “I bring all that experience to the clerk’s office. [I’ve] been on the council for the last 11 years and the city has over a $900 million budget, so I’m familiar with budgets, familiar with working within departments across city-parish governments."
“I’m going to restore the public’s trust to the office, make it an office that’s user friendly for the public, for attorneys, for anyone who comes through the door,” Collins-Lewis said. “We’re going to create an environment where employees are valued and respected."
“Those things were brought upon by us, because we requested the legislative auditor to come in after a story was done by two people that were disgruntled and they made up a lot of things that were not correct,” Welborn said. ”They were not true and they gave us the sign of approval, the seal of approval, that we were doing things right.”
The clerk of court’s office manages marriage licenses, courts records, and elections, among other things. Welborn says his staff does a good job of making sure people get what they need when they come in and that they leave satisfied. He says they are making improvements, such as having more files accessible on the internet.
“I’m learning something new every day because we have so many different agencies that we oversee,” said Welborn. “We’re bringing people the online services and we’re offering that to everybody that needs that.”
It’ll be up to voters to decide if they are happy with the clerk’s office or are ready for a change after nearly three decades.