Berrien County clerk: More employers conducting background checksPublished 6:55pm Thursday, February 9, 2012
ST. JOSEPH — Louise Stine, Berrien County clerk for the past 21 years, gave her final annual report to county commissioners Thursday.
Stine won’t seek re-election this year and is set to retire. Running for the clerk position is State Rep. Sharon Tyler, R-Niles.
As someone paid to track statistics, naturally Stine provided some figures from her tenure as clerk.
In her career, Stine helped install three new voting systems and was appointed to more than 15 state committees covering elections, vital records, the courts and legislation. She said she also has done training for the Michigan Association of County Clerks for 18 years, teaching sessions on recalls, recounts, marriage licenses and other topics.
Stine serves as the department head for the 19 employees in the county clerk’s office. She estimates she has trained more than 25,000 election workers in her career.
In terms of 2011 statistics, the clerk’s office fielded more than 30,000 direct calls for the year. In the court division, pro per cases, or cases that involve people representing themselves without an attorney, jumped from 281 in 2010 to 405 in 2011.
“That impacts my staff tremendously,” Stine said. “These cases require a lot of work with the customers.”
Civil and criminal background checks also skyrocketed in 2011, going from 9,260 in 2010 to 13,081.
“More and more employers are doing that before hiring,” she said.
The number of voter registration applications processed was down to 15,320 in 2011. The number was down due to the Secretary of State branch offices mailing voter registration applications directly to the larger jurisdictions in the county.
Stine also said the new software the county purchased for the vital records division will be installed Monday and will go live in April.