New clerk learns ropesPublished 5:00am Saturday, December 1, 2012
When officials are elected to a position, the preparation begins long before the swearing in takes place.
John Robert Fountain, who was elected to the office of Escambia County Circuit Clerk in Nov. 6, has already been working to get familiar with the job.
“I just wanted to come in and get my feet wet in the office,” Fountain said. “I really wanted to come in and learn from the master.”
The “master” Fountain referred to is Kenneth Taylor — the county’s circuit clerk for 42 years — who chose to retire from the position last year.
Fountain said the have been a few things in the office that has been an eye-opening experience.
“I am amazed at the volume of work that is done in the clerk’s office,” Fountain said. “I already knew the office did a lot of work, but once you get in here and see the day-to-day operations, it’s just a massive amount of work.”
Fountain said the job is one that will require him to wear many hats throughout the day.
“As a juvenile probation officer, I was always juggling different hats anyway,” Fountain said. “But, the clerk has to put on and take off so many more hats every day. Sometimes you have to be an accountant, then you have to be a lawyer, then you have to be the clerk. You’re just constantly juggling those hats.”
Fountain, who is under the supervision of Judge David Jordan, said he has the blessing of his boss that has allowed him to learn more about the clerk’s position.
“He has been so supportive of this training period for me,” Fountain said of Jordan. “He knows I will have a big responsible and has supported me being able to go ahead and begin learning the process for the different courts I’ll be dealing with in the clerk’s position.”
Fountain said he is confident the transition will be a smooth one for him — thanks to the capable clerks who are already working in the office.
“There is a great bunch of clerks working here already,” Fountain said. “Working with them and with Mr. Ken has been awesome. Most of these people can do the work they have to do blindfolded. I hope to get to that point some day.”
Fountain said while he is training in the clerk’s office, he will continue to be available to those in the juvenile probation office as well.
“I am still available if I’m needed there,” Fountain said. “I haven’t stopped doing my other job — I’m just spending some time working ahead in this new position.”
Although Fountain said he knows he won’t have the skill that Taylor has gained in his 42 years on the job, he will do his best to hit the ground running in January when he is official sworn into the office.
“I hope that everyone I’ll be working with come January will continue to be patient with me until I can get all of this work down pat,”
Fountain said. “Mr. Ken has already offered his services to me if I need him in the future. I know there are going to be times when I have questions and need advice. He is a great mentor and has been a great teacher. He will be a great benefit to me now and in the future.”