New Upshur County district clerk brings inherited problems under control

Payments through the office also had not been paid to auditors, one of the first problems solved.
Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 3:30 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 19, 2022 at 8:30 PM CDT
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GILMER, Texas (KLTV) - An East Texas district clerk, new to the job, is seeing light at the end of the tunnel after coming in to fix an office that was in disarray.

Working on her day off, interim Upshur County District Clerk Nicole Hernandez says she has to.

“I describe it as burning the candle at both ends, my entire crew. We are hard working, trying just day by day,” she says.

But a small mountain of problems presented itself when Hernandez took over.

“When I walked in here September 1 that afternoon, there was over 150 documents in the queue, the electronic queue. Those can range from felony cases to divorces, to motor vehicle accidents,” she says.

Former district clerk Karen Bunn was suspended from her duties by a judge after a petition to remove her from office was filed by several attorneys.

Reasons cited were failure to perform required duties and even be present at her office. Bunn claimed an office-related injury was the reason for her absence.

Vital documents were not being processed.

“There is a backlog. And cases can hinged on whether or not things have been properly done procedurally and filed properly, for us in the courtroom to be able to have that information,” says Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd.

“While we’re doing all the daily work, we’re also working on things that were done incorrectly, and piles of paperwork from March,” Hernandez says.

Payments through the office also had not been paid to auditors, one of the first problems solved.

“We are all caught up on paying attorneys,” says Hernandez.

“Nicole’s done a good job, she stepped in, rolled up her sleeves, went to work,” Byrd says.

For Hernandez and her five employees, they’re getting there.

“I see a light at the end of the tunnel. We’re almost there,” she says.

Hernandez won the March republican primary for the office and has no opponent in the November election.


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