Jane Dunlap, Pushmataha County Clerk, recently achieved Basic Certification for County Clerks. To complete the basic level in the county clerk’s certification program, Dunlap took a minimum of seven courses for a total of 75 hours of instruction. She was honored at the County Clerk’s Annual School held recently in Tulsa.
The County Clerks Association of Oklahoma instituted a voluntary certification program in 1992, which comprises an initial basic level. In 2000, the program was revised to include an advanced level, which requires a minimum of 60 additional hours, including four required courses. The remaining course hours are chosen from a selection of 16 courses at the discretion of the county employee.
In 2004, an Advanced Level II was added, which requires 55 additional hours, including five mandatory classes and sufficient discretionary classes to meet the number of hours needed. Since the program’s inception, more than 400 clerks and deputies have successfully attained certification.
Course work for clerks and their deputies encompasses subjects such as basic accounting; administration of county-owned property; formulating and operating a publicly-funded budget; meeting strict requirements of purchasing and bidding procedures; basic mapping; tax roll corrections; land records; managing cash flow; and learning about the many forms used for reporting purposes required by the Office of the State Auditor and Inspector.
The program also contains courses on the legislative process; utilizing the Oklahoma Statutes and research laws; fundamentals of office administration; the Open Meetings and Open Records Acts; communications skills; and a variety of courses on supervisory skills and mandatory issues regarding federal and state employment laws.
Course in the certification program are conducted through the County Training Program, part of the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Services of Oklahoma State University. The County Training Program is mandate by state statute and is authorized under the Commission on County Government Personnel and Training.
Instructors from OSU teach the classes for county officers and deputies at various locations throughout the state, and on the university’s campuses in Stillwater, Tulsa and Oklahoma City. In addition to County Clerk, the OSU staff also conducts dozen classes each year for other county officer certification programs. Many of the courses, which are usually taught in the classroom setting for 25-40 people, are attended by representatives from each of the elective and appointive agencies in county government.
More information about educational training for county officers may be obtained by contacting the County Training Program on the OSU Stillwater campus at 405-744-6160, or by visiting the website at http://www.agecon.okstate.edu/ctp .