WORLAND – The Washakie County Commissioners appointed Christy Schneider as the new Clerk of the Fifth Judicial District Court to replace current clerk SuZann Whitlock who submitted her letter of resignation at the June 2 commissioners meeting.
Whitlock occupied the position for 26 years and was a county employee for 36 years before deciding to retire and move on at the end of June.
Schneider was selected Tuesday after a more than 30-minute executive session, which resulted in Commissioners Fred Frandson and Terry Wolf voting in favor of the appointment, and Aaron Anderson voting against in a difficult decision for the commissioners as all of the candidates would fill in the position well.
Schneider will replace Whitlock starting July 1, but understands that she needs to discuss with County Attorney John Worrall and City Attorney Kent Richins if she needs to resign from the Worland City Council due to a possible conflict of interest as she would now hold two elected positions.
Since Whitlock is a Republican, the GOP Central Committee hosted a meeting of the candidates on Monday, June 15. Four candidates applied for the appointment. By state statute the committee had to submit three names to the commissioners within 15 days of the resignation.
The four candidates who applied for the position and were in attendance on Monday night were Schneider, Molly Lockard, MaryBeth Black and Mirian Hansen.
Schneider is a conservative candidate who has worked for the Fifth Judicial District Circuit Court for 13 years and has lived in Worland for 27 years. She sees the court clerk as a positive position to help people understand the court system and help people understand how the process of law works.
Hansen has been a deputy clerk for the Fifth Judicial District Court for 16 years, and is a proud immigrant from Honduras after immigrating in 1990 and becoming a United States citizen in 1996. Hansen has been one of the primary clerks in the office who understands where the courts are moving in the future towards more online filing.
Lockard is currently a paralegal for Chris King of APEX Legal, P.C. in Worland. She studied to be a paralegal in Washington prior to moving back to here where she is originally from. She sees the clerk’s position as an end goal in her profession, and wanted to have the opportunity to prove herself in a higher setting.
Black worked for the county attorney based in Rosebud County, Montana, prior to applying for the position.
The three candidates that were passed on to the commissioners were Schneider, Hansen and Lockard. The first voting round determined Schneider to be the most viable candidate according to the committee, receiving 12 votes. The second position resulted in a tie between Hansen and Lockard who both received 11 votes. Black placed fourth receiving two votes.
After discussion between the committee of how to determine the second and third ranking between Hansen and Lockard, a second vote took place, Hansen received 10 votes and Lockard received two votes with one ballot rejected for violating the rules of only voting for one candidate.