Oregon County appointed a new county clerk on Dec. 17. Tracy Bridges, 32, who has been deputy clerk in Oregon County since February 2007, was appointed by Gov. Jay Nixon to take the responsibilities of county clerk after the death of former Oregon County Clerk Gary Hensley, who died at the age of 58 in November from a heart attack. Hensley also owned an auction company.
Bridges was deputy clerk under Hensley's tutelage and plans to carry on his ideals and ethics as the new county clerk.
Bridges was sworn in as the new county clerk Dec. 31. Her work experience not only includes county clerk duties but she also did some work at Great Southern Bank in Thayer for 10 years and started working there when she was about 20 years old. As deputy clerk she worked with Hensley every day with accounts payable, payroll and budgets and worked with Lauren McEntire when elections came. She said being a deputy clerk at Alton helped her be closer to home and her husband of 14 years.
She said she knew Hensley since she was a child growing up in Alton, and he was a good family friend. "He knew my family my whole life," Bridges said. "My mom used to work the auctions with him. He was president of the Oregon County Sheltered Workshop, which my dad manages. He was a family friend my whole life." Bridges also worked with Hensley this past year with auctions.
A county clerk is a budget officer for the county and acts as the election authority and takes the minutes of the county commissioners' meetings and acts as clerk to the county commission. Bridges said as far as those employed in the clerk's office itself, all of them work together to see that everything is done properly. The clerk is also responsible for the deputy clerks. "It's a joint effort for everybody within the office," Bridges said.
"I am both honored and humbled to have been appointed to serve as Oregon County Clerk. I want to say how honored I was to be Gary Hensley's deputy as well.
I intend to do my best to continue to serve all the people of Oregon County without partiality (just) as Gary did. I believe county officials are here to serve the county, not themselves," Bridges said. "I also want to thank Gov. Nixon for the appointment and thank all the many people who have given me words of encouragement and support."
Bridges will serve her term until Dec. 31, 2010, and plans on running in the Aug. 3, 2010, primary elections for Oregon County Clerk. She plans to run on the Democratic ticket.