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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Bourbon County clerk resigns

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Three-term Bourbon County Clerk Joanne Long poses for a photo in her office at the Bourbon County Courthouse on Friday. After 20 years of service to the county, Long has resigned her post effective Oct. 15.
(Laurie Sisk/Herald-Tribune)
After more than two decades of service to Bourbon County residents, Joanne Long has resigned her post as Bourbon County clerk, effective Oct. 16 to begin work in the private sector.

Long began her career with the county on March 23,1992, as a switchboard operator. In the mid-90s, she advanced to bills/payroll/election clerk, where she worked until the late 90s. She became deputy clerk before running for the first of her three terms as county clerk.

Long was defeated by fellow Republican Kendall Dawn Mason in the Aug. 7 primary -- 1,186 votes to 846. Mason will face Democrat Evelyn Taylor in the Nov. 6 general election.

Long said she enjoyed the diversity of her job, especially knowing that each day would be a little different than the one before.

"Between elections and budgets and commission meetings and resolutions and homesteads and everything else, it's not the same thing every day," Long said. "It's been an honor and a privilege serving Bourbon County. I love my staff and I've enjoyed working here."

She is leaving the county to take the position of Peopleware Coordinator II with Computer Information Concepts. Long said she will be on the government team that installs, troubleshoots and offers customer support for counties and cities that use the CIC utility billing, payroll and election software.

Long said she also will be involved in selling the software to government entities. Bourbon County currently uses CIC software.

"They liked the idea that I was the ideal candidate because of my experience using the software, as a user, not just somebody who they hire and teach what it does. I've actually done it hands on for three years," Long said. "Plus as a county clerk and president of the Kansas County Clerks and Election Officials Association, I have good relationships with all 105 counties, not to mention the clerks, but the treasurers and the deeds and other offices as well."

Long said leaving her position will be easy in some ways and hard in others.

"This was my career and I could have done it forever had I been elected," Long said. "I think this opens an opportunity I wouldn't have known or thought about. I believe that I can do more and this has given me the opportunity to do so."

Long will work from her Fort Scott home for now and travel extensively for the Greeley, Co.-based CIC. She also was offered a position with Shawnee County in Topeka as assistant election commissioner.

"I unfortunately lost the election, which forced me to look elsewhere and I've had a couple of excellent opportunities. Balancing them back and forth, with pros and cons, I went with this one (CIC). I think it's the better choice overall for me."

Long had no regrets about her time with the county.

"I've given my all to Bourbon County and now I can still help out with counties, cities and schools. I'll just be doing it more on the back end and as the face in the door."

Long said since Bourbon County is a CIC customer, the company has offered her services to help with the upcoming election "on their dime" if the county so desires.

"They want the transition to be as smooth as possible, since they are essentially stealing me away," Long said. "We'll see who gets the appointment and if they want me here or not and then we will go from there."

Long said her vacancy will be filled after local members of the party convene and by a clear majority elect a replacement, who will serve until noon Jan. 14, when the newly elected clerk will take office.

Precinct committeemen and women from all three Bourbon County districts must convene within 21 days of Sept. 25, the day Long tendered her resignation.

They then have 24 hours to present their choice to Gov. Sam Brownback for approval.

Long said the Republican nominee, Mason, can be nominated, which she said could be a good choice, especially for an easier transition in January.

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