Birch appointed Piatt County Circuit Clerk

The Piatt County board on April 12 appointed Laurie Birch as the county’s new circuit clerk. Promoted from the deputy clerk position she had held since last August, Birch replaces Garel Spainhour, who was elected last November but resigned in February due to health concerns.

Alicia Winder, also a deputy clerk in the office, had been serving as interim clerk for the past month.

Birch, a 1982 Atwood-Hammond High School graduate who now lives in rural Bement, said more than 20 years of employment at IT firms prior to coming on board in the clerk’s office will serve her well.

“It is more important than it used to be,” said Birch, noting that electronic filing of court documents is becoming more common. “We’re going to start doing e-filing (of court cases) in the county, and appeals will also be by electronic transfer.”

As circuit clerk, she oversees an office of six other full-time employees who are in charge of county court records and the receipt payments ordered by the court.

After a nine-year stint by former Circuit Clerk Charles Barre prior to his retirement in November of last year, Birch said she wanted to provide “stability” to the office.

Her term runs until the November of 2018 election.

Eight people applied for the opening.

“They were all good. I was very pleased with the quality of the applicants,” said Piatt County Board Chairman Randy Keith. Since Spainhour was a Republican, the recommendation of Birch came from the county Republican Central Committee.

It was not a unanimous vote by the county board to endorse that recommendation. Renee Fruendt voted “no,” saying after the meeting that she was not convinced Birch met all the qualifications needed for the post.

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