CONYERS -- Rockdale County residents voted to retain their current clerk of courts, but they voted in two new judges.
All of the winners are Democratic candidates -- incumbent Clerk of Courts Ruth Wilson and political newcomers Charles Mays for Rockdale County Probate Court judge and Phinia Aten for Rockdale chief Magistrate Court judge.Clerk of CourtsMost voters cast their ballots for Wilson for the clerk of Superior and State courts in Rockdale County.
She received 21,236 votes, or nearly 58 percent, compared to her opponent, Republican Holly Bowie, who received 15,507 votes, or about 42 percent, according to results on the Georgia Secretary of State's website. The results are unofficial and don't yet include provisional or military ballots.
Wilson, who was unavailable for comment as of press time Tuesday, is completing in her first four-year term in office. She came into office with a corporate background which included 25 years working for BellSouth and AT&T.
Wilson, in a previous Citizen article, said she modernized her office by establishing a website to provide information to prospective jurors and make it possible to pay court fees and fines online.
Bowie is a paralegal for DuBose, Massey, Bair and Evans, LLC and was director of Legal Affairs for Rockdale County, from 1999 until November 2009, when she began her current job.
The two have mainly discussed throughout the race the issue of the collection of passport fees by the clerk, who is allowed by law to retain the fees which amount to some $40,000 a year as personal income.
Wilson said in the spring that she would no longer keep any fees for herself and would donate one-third of the funds to the county's general fund, one-third to her office for year-end bonuses and one-third to local charitable organizations. Bowie said that 100 percent of the money should go to the operation of the office, no matter the law.Rockdale County Probate JudgeMays will take over the position as probate judge from longtime incumbent Republican Lillis Brown.
He received 19,035 votes, or nearly 52 percent, compared to Brown's 17,764 votes, or about 48 percent.
"I'm feeling great ... and excited," said Mays after receiving the tally Tuesday evening.
Mays is a Missouri native and moved to Rockdale County about 10 years ago. He has served on the board of Ceek to Fulfill, a local nonprofit agency. He has worked mainly in the retail and construction industries and has never practiced law; he earned a law degree in 1982 from Saint Louis University.
Brown has been in office since 1993, currently serving in her fifth term. Mays said he plans to talk with her about how to prepare for taking over the office in January.
"We want to try to make the transition as smooth as possible," Mays said.Rockdale Chief Magistrate JudgeMost residents also voted for Aten, who will take over for longtime incumbent Chief Magistrate Judge Clarence "Rudy" Horne, a Republican who has served as the chief for more than two decades.
Aten received 19,494 votes, or 52.97 percent, compared to Horne, who received 17,305 votes, or 47.03 percent.
Aten, who was unavailable for comment Tuesday, has worked 14 years as a practicing attorney. She earned a law degree from Tulane University in New Orleans.
She was named an Outstanding Citizen by the Georgia Secretary of State and the 2011 recipient of the Luminary Leadership Business Award from the local chapter of the Georgia Federation of Democratic Women.
She is president of the New-Rock Legal Society and a member of several law associations.