County profile: County clerk has Portales roots

Editor’s note: The PNT is running periodic profiles on city and county workers.

Janet Collins of Portales has worked at the Roosevelt County Clerk’s office for 16 years. She is running unopposed in her re-election bid for county clerk in the Nov. 4 election.

Just a hometown gal: Collins has spent her entire life as a resident of Portales and Roosevelt County.

“I have a lot of friends and extended family. I know many of the people that walk through our doors.”

She graduated from Portales high school in 1972, she married Steve Collins in the same year.

“I graduated, I got married and It was also the first year that 18-year olds were able to vote. It was a good year.”

Starting at the bottom: After taking time off from work until her children — Julie Fraze and Denver Collins — entered high school, she started at the county clerk’s office in 1992.

“Maudene Harragan was the county clerk when I was hired as a part-time deputy clerk. It was an election year, so I went from part-time to full-time quick.”

Taking on the role: Collins said that retirement had a lot to do with her decision to run for the office of the county clerk in 2005.

Joyce Fraze had decided not to run for re-election and was going to retire.

“Eventually all of the senior deputies retired that year and that left just me.”

The paper chase: Collins said that her duties as the county clerk include serving as the Roosevelt County commissioners’ clerk, serving as the chief county election officer and filing for the probate judge.

She also is responsible for the upkeep and updating of all the records pertaining to the area, which date back to the 1800s.

She said one of her favorite things is to help people search through the records to trace their genealogy.

“I have found records of my ancestors that homesteaded in this area.”

Another part of her job that she enjoys is registering new voters and issuing marriage licenses.

“Not only did I help my children fill out their voter register forms, I issued their marriage licenses.”

Did someone say election: Collins said that the most hectic part of her job is election time, especially a presidential election year. No one is allowed to take vacation five weeks before election time.

“It is really trying during a presidential election. There are no second chances; you have to have everything right and ready.”

She said the entire election process would not be possible without an outstanding support staff.

“When I first started here 16 years ago, it was like working with sisters. It is still very much like that today and that is one of the reasons I enjoy coming to work each day.”