VALE — Gayle Trotter will not be moving far when she becomes county clerk, replacing retiring Deborah DeLong effective Aug. 1.
Malheur County Court appointed Trotter on Wednesday, after interviewing five candidates. Her appointment is through December 2018, the end of DeLong’s current term. Trotter said she will be seeking election to the position in 2018.
Trotter has worked in the clerk’s office for about 19 years, starting in 1998, she said.
She moved with her family to Ontario as a junior, graduating from Ontario High School, and then attended Treasure Valley Community College, where she received an associate degree in business management. She worked at Land Title in Ontario for five years, before seeking a position in the clerk’s office.
“I live in Vale,” Trotter said. “I wanted to see if could get a job closer to home.”
Trotter’s first position was recording clerk. From there, she worked her up way to election deputy and
has been serving as
chief deputy clerk/elections, a position she has held for 10 years. She also acted as clerk in DeLong’s absence.
When she began working in the clerk’s office, voting by mail had just been voted in, and counting of ballots was now being done in the courthouse. Trotter was involved in posting the results in the corridor.
“I made the big sheets hanging in the hallway,” she said.
That is no longer done, as the elections are posted online.
By the time she became elections clerk, although the ballots are still paper, the counting system was automated, Trotter said. However, any recounts are done fully by hand, after a counting board has been convened, she said.
One of the biggest challenges is coming back to work the morning after an election, after only about three hours of sleep, and trying to operate the office in a normal fashion, Trotter said. Also, with the end of the Oregon legislative session there will be more changes coming down in the different processes office staff will have to deal with, she said.
The big changes for her in becoming county clerk, Trotter said, are that she will be managing the operations in the office, and will not have the luxury of passing questions on.
“I will have to make the decisions.”
It may be several weeks before a new person is hired to bring staff back up to four, Trotter said.
“We want to get back to full staff.”
Trotter and her husband, Jody, who works in construction, have two daughters. When not in the office, Trotter said, she is often attending her oldest daughter’s basketball and tennis games.