Special elections set for circuit clerk, constable

Published 11:24 am Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Qualifying begins Wednesday in special elections set for Nov. 4 to fill the jobs of circuit clerk and central district constable in Warren County.

The Warren County Board of Supervisors on Monday OK’d advertising both positions officially. Interim officeholders appointed by the board since the start of the year hold both jobs.

The qualifying period ends Sept. 5 for both races. They’ll appear alongside contests for U.S. Senate, judicial and school board races that will face voters in the fall.

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Greg Peltz was appointed circuit clerk by the county board May 19 when the office was declared vacant amid a continuing financial scandal involving former clerk Shelly Ashley-Palmertree. Peltz, a former retail manager, has said he’ll seek the office full-time. In Mississippi, circuit and chancery clerks are the highest-paying jobs in county government. Base salaries for each are capped at $90,000 by the Legislature.

State law mandates no specific prerequisites to be circuit clerk, such as basic accounting or a law degree. However, it stipulates no clerk elected is to carry out any duties or take the oath of office until they complete 50 hours of training and education courses conducted by the Mississippi Judicial College of the University of Mississippi Law Center.

In January, supervisors appointed Vicksburg police investigator Troy Kimble to the constable’s position in the central district after former constable and fellow officer Randy Naylor died Nov. 7. Constables primarily serve justice court and other legal papers, but also have general law-enforcement powers. They are paid $35 for each paper served.

Warren County’s northern and southern district constables are Glenn McKay and John Heggins, respectively. In late November, the Secretary of State’s Office told county election officials the race is to be held under district lines adopted in 2012 reflecting population changes during the 2010 census. The central district picked up areas in Chickasaw, Kings and Ford subdivisions in the decennial shift.

The winner in each race will face voters again in 2015 in the regular state/county election cycle.