Our Q&A Column is a way for us to highlight the interesting people within our community.
This week we talked with Natchitoches Parish Clerk of Court David Stamey.
Q: Why Were You Interested In Your Current Role in the Beginning?
A: As you know I was in the real estate business for thirty-plus years and I enjoyed being involved in the community. I saw an article that stated Louie Bernard was retiring. I thought who is going to be crazy enough to follow Louie? It turns out it was me. After being encouraged by a group to run for the position I factored in my administrative and financial experience and decided that I would be a good fit and made a run.
Q: What Are The Roles Of Your Position?
A: The Clerk of Court office is first and foremost about service to the 10th Judicial District and to the public. Our responsibilities are wide-ranging. We record documents that become public records including conveyances, mortgages, Oil and Gas Mineral Leases, cancellations and marriage records, Civil Documents of the 10th JDC, and Criminal Documents and proceedings of the 10th JDC. We assist the two divisions of the 10th JDC in getting summons out and setting up jury selection. We also have an employee in the court of each Division of the 10thJDC that serves the court as a minute clerk. We assist the public with Louisiana Birth Certificates and Passports. We also, with great assistance from 200 plus Natchitoches Parish Election Commissioners. Deputy Custodians, the Board of Election Supervisors, and the Louisiana Secretary of State’s staff conduct all Parish Elections. We operate on self-generated funds from filings. We do not receive tax money to pay salaries or any operations.
Q: What Major Challenges Have You Faced So Far In Office?
A: This sounds like it shouldn’t be a challenge, but with documents that go back to 1739 and so many of our documents need to be kept permanently, we have a space problem. We are back-scanning current and older records so they can be accessed online, but we still keep originals. We now have conveyance documents on line back to 1920, mortgage records to 1986, along with civil and criminal documents to 2000, but we have a lot more work to do. We also are continuing to add new technology including giving citizens the ability to e-record and soon allow for e-filing in civil matters.
Q: What Kind of Strategies And Mindset Is Required For This Role?
A: The mindset has to remain on service. For many people coming to the courthouse is a scary thing. The way our employees meet the public goes a long way to help that. I need to be a planner and be able to adjust in the ever-changing financial environment that we operate in. I also need to constantly monitor our budget. Even though we are a government agency, we must treat it as a business.
Q: How Do You Stay Motivated In Your Work?
A: I find it easy to stay motivated because we stay busy and face different challenges every day. It helps that I enjoy what I do and have a wonderful staff to help get things accomplished.
Q: Describe A Time When You Failed In This Role And The Lesson You Learned?
A: I’m lucky that I haven’t had any major failures or problems. We get great training every year. I’m lucky to have several friends that are Clerks in other parishes that I can go to when I need help or advice. I was elected in October 2015 and didn’t take office until July 2016. I was fortunate that my predecessor Louie Bernard allowed me to come in to learn a lot during that time to understand operations and there were three elections that he allowed me to shadow him on. I was able to retain so many valuable members of his staff that it made the transition almost seamless.
Q: Tell me something fun that not many people may know about you.
A: I had two jobs earlier in my life that some might find interesting. For the last two and a half years of my college career, I worked for the Miller Brewing Company in marketing and sales. The first job I had after college was for four years and I was a manufacturer’s representative for a Ladies’ clothing company across five states. So I know I can sell beer, dresses, and real estate!
Q: If You Could Time Travel, When Would You Go?
A: I love history, especially American history. I have many people I would love to go back and meet. I’ve got some really fascinating documents in our Clerk’s office. It might be fun to go back and see those being signed!!
Q: What’s Your Best Natchitoches Memory?
A: It’s hard for me to limit that answer but I grew up in Natchitoches Parish in the late 1960s through the 1970s with great family and friends. Playing ball, fishing, and generally enjoying that world. I have to add that I’m glad there weren’t cell phones and videos around then! Of course, my best memory and decision was made 40 years ago this January when I married my bride!
Q: What Is The Best Piece Of Advice You’ve Received?
A: Be kind and treat people with respect. It is how you will be remembered.
Q: What Accomplishment Are You Most Proud Of?
A: I’m proud of the advances the Clerk’s office has made in the last six-plus years and look forward to more growth and service in the future. It has been very different from accomplishments in my sales career but still very meaningful to me.