The venerable achievement award that is presented annually by the Superior Court Clerks' Association of Georgia was presented to Connie Cheatham, Clerk of the Superior Court of McDuffie County, during ceremonies held on April 24 on St. Simons Island in conjunction with the association's annual spring conference and mandatory training for superior court clerks.
McDuffie County Superior Court Clerk Connie Cheatham (center) is pictured with Billy Jones, attorney at law with Jones, Osteen & Jones and Barry Wilkes, Liberty County Superior Court Clerk.
"There is no clerk of superior court more deserving to receive the CLAT Award than the Honorable Connie Cheatham, Clerk of the Superior Court of McDuffie County. She has provided great leadership and dedication and has made many outstanding contributions to clerks of superior court, our association, the people she serves at home, and the citizens of Georgia," said F. Barry Wilkes, Clerk of the Superior Court of Liberty County and chairperson of the CLAT Trust, the organization that sponsors the award.
The CLAT Award was created to recognize superior court clerks for standing for exceptional commitment, leadership, accomplishment and teamwork.
"In French, 'clat' means great brilliance, achievement, or performance. It also forms an acronym, with each letter standing for an attribute recipients must possess - 'exceptional commitment, achievement, and performance'," Mr. Wilkes said. Presenting the award to Mrs. Cheatham, Mr. Wilkes cited her numerous achievements and contributions since she was elected and took office as clerk of superior court in 1989.
"First and foremost," Mr. Wilkes said, "she has been an exceptional clerk of superior court, working hard and being extremely innovative to provide the best services possible to the citizens of McDuffie County. ... Lastly, she has worked long, hard hours on, helping to create, edit, and compile the Superior Court Clerks' Reference Manual, a one-of-a-kind guide that helps clerks in the trenches, as they perform the intricate duties mandated by law, court rules and prevailing judicial decisions. Because it's been beneficial to clerks, it has helped to improve service delivery and record management for the courts, real estate and personal property records, and the voluminous other records of which clerks of superior court serve as custodian."
Mrs. Cheatham and a handful of her peers were asked to develop the reference manual eight years ago, he said, a challenge they accepted willingly.
"She and the other members of the Reference Manual Committee have worked tirelessly, without recognition, and without any compensation," Mr. Wilkes said. "The result is that we, clerks of superior court, have the nation's only comprehensive guide developed for clerks and by clerks."