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DeWittDailyNews.com welcomes letters to the editor, as a way we can let our readers and listeners sound off on the issues most important to them. If you wish to submit a letter, please note the following guidelines: 
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We look forward to hearing from you.

Letter from Pam Barnes, DeWitt County Circuit Clerk

Dear Editor:
I have just finished reading my opponent’s flyer that I received today in the mail and I would like to set the record straight.  David Holt was NEVER my campaign manager in my prior campaign.  I managed my campaign on my own from beginning to end. 
I hired my daughter-in-law in 2012; a full two years before she married my son and they were not even a couple when I hired her. 
The DeWitt County Circuit Clerk’s office handles hundreds of cases being sent to the collection agency and occasionally a case may get mistakenly sent but corrected immediately upon notification of the error.  Mistakes happen.  No office in the county is immune to making mistakes. 
When I first took office, the starting salary for a deputy clerk was $9.50 per hour for a 35 hour week (take home pay = $332.50/week).  I tried to convince the County Board to raise their starting pay to at least $10.00 per hour but all the County Board was willing to pay was $9.79 per hour which is where the starting salary is at this date.  It’s difficult to retain employees to work for this amount when they can go somewhere else and make more money. 

The majority of the employees have left due to finding  better paying jobs, one girl moved back home to Kankakee, and yes, I fired some employees due to excessive absences, failing to follow instructions after repeated training and one for improper use of  her e-mail account during working hours.  I had a couple of really bad years due to the fact that I wasn’t able to hire people with a legal background due to the salary being so low. 

I believe that DeWitt County residents deserve conscientious, hard-working employees who have good attendance. I have had many DeWitt County residents and attorneys remark to me that they appreciate the courteous, respectful and competent help they receive from my staff.  My current staff is the best staff I’ve had yet.  You can sling mud at me all you want but please don’t criticize my employees because they don’t deserve it.
Before I took office I knew several of the past county board members; I count Keith Koons as part of our family because my daughter dated for several years and is now married to his nephew.  I have known Pete Daugherty and Sherrie Brown for a long time.  I’m not going to allow anyone to choose my friends for me – that would be puppetry.
The sign in my office was meant as a joke.  If it offended anyone, I apologize.  However, most people looked at it and laughed because they knew it was a joke or they didn’t notice it at all.
I am committed to running a clean, honest and honorable campaign.  It’s disappointing that my opponent has chosen to do otherwise.
Libel is a published false statement that is damaging to a person's reputation.  The allegations that my opponent has made are irresponsible, incorrect and insulting.
So much for being competent and ethical.  

Pam Barnes

Clinton, IL


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