By MARY RAINWATER
With nine years of service under her belt — and over 20 years of service to Anderson County, County Clerk Wanda Burke has announced her retirement, effective at the end of her current term on Dec. 31, 2014.
“I would like to thank everyone for voting for me and keeping me as your county clerk, but its has come time for me to retire,” Burke said. “It has been a very good experience for me and I have learned a lot.
“Thank you for putting your trust and faith in me for the last nine years.”
Burke was appointed to the county clerk's position in 2004 and has served in the role under three county judges — Carey McKinney, Linda Ray and current Judge Robert Johnston. She began her employment with Anderson County in 1993, serving a secretary to then-County Judge John Ballard McDonald.
From there she transferred to the office of then-County Clerk Joe Huddleston, and in 1997 transferred again to the county auditor's office. She remained there until 2000, when she worked scanning documents for former District Clerk Maxine Barnett.
Burke also worked 12 years for the City of Elkhart, with about nine of those years as the City Secretary.
“I have been a waitress, a store clerk and have worked at a feed mill,” she said. “I have done a little bit of everything.”
As county clerk, Burke has many accomplishment to be proud of, she said, in managing county records.
“I have redone old commissioners court record books, the last three of which are currently at the binders for preservation,” she said. “I also have seen to the index and scanning of land records dating back to 1974.”
County commissioners recently OK'd a contract to have those land records available online, with copies to be purchased for $1 each. That system should be up and running by the end of the year, Burke said.
“We are continuing to go further back in indexing those land records, and will let the public know as they become available,” Burke said.
During her tenure as county clerk, Burke also has seen to the electronic indexing of marriage and birth records and well as some old school district records.
“I think we have accomplished a lot,” she said. “I'm happy. God's given me a lot of help over the years.”
The decision to leave her office was not an easy one, Burke said.
“It is hard. I really, really really like this job,” she said. “But I didn't feel I could properly serve Anderson County another four years. It is just time.”
Burke's husband of almost 42 years, David, retired from the City of Palestine in January, after 29 years at the water treatment plant.
“I want to retire and spend time with him,” she said. “It is time for me to live the next chapter in my life.”
Burke's retirement plans include “spending the first six months doing nothing,” she said, and getting more involved in her church, Elkhart Church of Christ.
While her official exit is over a year away, Burke already knows what she will miss the most — the people.
“Being clerk, I don't get to mix and mingle with people the way I like to,” she said. “So when you work together like we do, it becomes one big family.
“I am proud of this office and the employees we have here.”
Burke has high hopes for one of those employees, Mark Staples, for whom she cast support as her successor.
“Mark has over eight years experience in the county clerk's office and I know he is the best candidate for the job,” she said. “He has been to school with me and he knows the laws that are needed to run the county clerk's office.
“May God bless each one of the citizens of Anderson County and always remember to vote for the person who can do the best job for your county.”
Burke and her husband have one grown son and daughter-in-law, Ronald and Hailey Burke.
Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org