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Dowd, Darby square off in
race for circuit clerk

by Shana Haines
Landmark reporter

When Platte County voters head to the polls in November, they'll pick between two candidates for Platte County Circuit Clerk.

Earlier this year Linda Darby, (R), filed against incumbent Sandra Dowd (D) for circuit court clerk.

Dowd has been in the position for 12 years. She has a total of 25 years of experience in the circuit court system. Dowd served as deputy clerk for five years, and chief deputy clerk for eight years.

Dowd was raised in Weston. Her husband, John, is manager of Beverly Lumber Company in Riverside. The couple has been married for 25 years and raised two daughters. Laura Cowger, 25, is a graduate of Park University. She is currently attending Park University where she is obtaining her master's degree. Sarah Dowd, 19, is a sophomore at Park University.

Dowd is a member of Holy Trinity Catholic Church, West Platte Booster Club, Greater Kansas City Women's Political Caucus. Dowd is also a member of Missouri State Circuit Clerk ex-officio Recorder of Deeds Association. She was elected to serve as president of that group in 2001.

Since she has been in office, she says the most important accomplishment for Platte County is the statewide automation system.

The system allows for Platte County court records to be placed on a web site.

"This helps save citizens money. Attorneys can stay in the office and look up cases. And citizens can go on-line and follow their cases to make sure their attorney is doing their job," Dowd said.

The role of circuit court clerk, according to Dowd, is very detailed.

"The circuit clerk position is a very technical position. There has never been a circuit court clerk that was not in the system, or did not know the inner office," Dowd said.

"I know all the court systems. I sit in with the judges. I have knowledge of all the state statutes. A staff can't work for a clerk who is not knowledgeable."

Dowd adds the circuit clerk is responsible for payroll, keeper of court records, including juvenile records.

Darby is running for circuit clerk a second time.

"When asked by the Republican Party if I would consider running again, I did not hesitate," Darby said. "This office is plagued by inadequate financial controls, constant employee turnover and limited staffing."

Darby adds she has worked in law offices and has the knowledge needed for the position.

"I have worked in law offices for over a decade, doing research and preparing almost every type of legal document filed in the circuit clerk's office," Darby said. "I have filed county and state traffic cases, criminal, civil cases, domestic relations, guardian ad litem cases, adoptions, estate planning, personal injury and small claims cases.

"During my employment in the IT department of Farmland Industries, I have taken VBA programming classes at Johnson County Community College, as well as courses in Excel, Power Point, GroupWise and Access."

Darby claims the implementation of cases on-line is not the doings of Dowd.

"My opponent would have people believe she is responsible for the statewide court implementation and automation of all departments in the circuit court. This is simply not true. The implementation is a mandate from Jefferson City to all counties, not just Platte," Darby said.

"My opponent would also have people believe she is responsible for court cases becoming available on-line. This is not true, but mandated from Jefferson City."