Dulaney Retires After Decades Of Service
The year 2017 will be a different one for Circuit Clerk Sharon Dulaney, as she will begin her retirement after decades of public service. Specifically, Dulaney has served as Wetzel County’s circuit clerk for 18 years.
Dulaney said she has always been involved in politics, prior to her service as circuit clerk. However, she noted, she never thought about running for office. Yet the transition seemed like a sensible one, as Dulaney has always seemed to have a knack for public service.
She explained that she worked at the Department of Highways as a secretary, prior to working in the assessor’s office from 1982 to 1992. She was then approached by Circuit Clerk Nelda Kocher Glover.
“When she hired me, she said, “I’d like you to come to work for me, and I’d like to groom you to be a circuit clerk,” Dulaney explained.
Though Dulaney, at the time, might have been a bit apprehensive, she decided to run for the position five years later, after Former Circuit Clerk Carol Hassig finished out Glover’s term.
“I filed for it, and I don’t regret it at all. It’s been a rewarding job,” she said.
When asked about what has been most rewarding, Dulaney doesn’t hesitate in her answer. “When you see a child who needs adopted, and here come the parents and adopt the child… It’s something the judges take such pleasure in,” she explained.
“Most times, the child is coming out of a bad situation. Witnessing the adoption is so rewarding. The judges let the family take whatever photos they want to take, and they let the child use the gavel at the bench.”
And speaking of judges, Dulaney said her favorite was the late Judge John T. Madden.
“He was my favorite judge, a wonderful, wonderful man. He was very down-to-earth and very respectful to everyone that came before him. But, he went by the law. He could be stiff.”
Dulaney continued, “He was strict, but he was kind about it. He didn’t let the authority overrule him. Some people do that; I’ve seen that.
“He was down-to-earth, but followed the law and always gave the juveniles the benefit.”
Dulaney said she hasn’t worked with Lori McCoy much, who was officially elected to the circuit clerk’s position in November.
“She’s preparing someone to take her job (at the county clerk’s office), and she’s in Charleston training.”
One piece of advice Dulaney managed to pass along though?
“I told her she needs to be stern.”
Dulaney elaborated, “I’m not a stern boss. I always say I’m not boss material. I never gave (my staff) a command. I always respected them and said “Would you do this?”
“I try to treat them like I wanted to be treated. Maybe some offices wouldn’t work out as good as ours did. I know I don’t worry about them not completing work though.”
When asked how the court system has changed since she began her tenure as circuit clerk, Dulaney noted that there are a lot more requirements and “a lot more things are computerized.”
Notably, Dulaney said she is currently working to get the financials logged onto the computers. “I’ve manually done them for the past 18 years, and I’m the only one in the office that knows how to do the financials,” she said.
Dulaney won’t leave her staff high and dry though. She said, in January, she will still be on hand to make sure “everything I’m responsible for is done.”
The job of circuit clerk also includes a great deal of paperwork. “There is so much paperwork that goes around the desks.” Dulaney noted that with oil and gas cases, there have been times when the paperwork comes into her office via a “dolley” cart.
The job of circuit clerk “is a very rewarding job, but it’s a very stressful job.”
“It’s not a job for somebody that doesn’t take stress well. There’s not a day that goes by that there isn’t a stressful situation.” Dulaney noted that sometimes it can be into the wee hours of the morning when she is finally able to unwind.
She noted that, while hearing juvenile abuse cases, “many times I’ve just had my head down, so that the jury doesn’t see my expressions.”
“You have to watch your expressions. With abuse and neglect cases, that’s been a challenge to hide that, but I like court and I like trials, and I enjoy getting to pick a jury.”
When asked why she has chosen to retire now, Dulaney noted that the term of circuit clerk is a six year term. She said her husband has been retired, and she wants to spend time with him.
Plus, “I’m tired of working. It’s a very rigid schedule. I decided when I filed last time, it’d be my last term.”
Dulaney added that she is excited that if she wakes up in the morning, and the weather is bad, she will not have to go out.
And, “I’m ready to relax a bit.”
And surely this free time will mean that Dulaney can spend more time with her son, grandsons, and great-grandson. She had noted that prior to working at the DOH, she worked at a craft shop. And prior to that job, she was a housewife, a job she describes as “most rewarding.”
It is certainly obvious that family is near and dear to Dulaney. In fact, she attributes her interest in politics to her father.
“He was the one who got me so included in politics,” she said, adding that her father went “out on those backroads and campaigned for me.”
Dulaney said her father lived to see her through her first two terms as circuit clerk. However, she wishes her mother would have been alive to see her elected to the circuit clerk position.
“She would’ve been proud of me,” Dulaney noted.
Dulaney credits those around her with bringing her to the present. She said she is proud of the commission she has worked with.
“I’ve never went to them and asked for anything that I needed, that they didn’t provide. They listen to whatever you have to say. I’ve never had to fight for a budget, to get what we need to operate the office.”
Dulaney also expressed thanks to her husband, for always supporting her and making her “look good.”
“He says that I’m his rock, but he’s mine. He is still the love of my life,” she said of her husband, who she has recently celebrated 50 years of marriage with.