Sherri Akins and Teresa Tucker have given their adult working lives to the service of Bulloch County. That chapter has closed and the reasons have been documented in the newspaper reports on the subject. This letter is intended to offer a broader context than has been presented in that coverage, perhaps to provide the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey might say.
Sherri Akins served for decades as one of our county's most able and popular elected officials, after many years as deputy clerk to her predecessor. In several elections, Ms. Akins earned more votes from Bulloch County voters than any candidate, for any office on the ballot. She nevertheless remained humble and grateful for the support, and was always willing to help with any problem presented. Ms. Akins retired after those many years and was succeeded by Teresa Tucker, who had earned the confidence of the community during her years as an able deputy clerk. Ms. Tucker followed and maintained the standard set by Ms. Akins, who remained on staff to offer guidance, advice and continuity.
These two ladies served our community during the transition from the days of onion-skin and carbon paper into the age of electronic media, while coping with an unprecedented explosion in population. The office of Bulloch County Clerk is responsible for maintaining the public record, including managing and keeping the minutes of both Superior and State Court proceedings, preserving the chain of title to all of the real estate in the county and maintaining the myriad personal and financial filings required by law. A population of professionals, including lawyers, bankers, contractors and others depended on the work of this office for their livelihood. Far more often than not, our community of more than 50,000 citizens benefited from a job well-done and, when there was an error, the correction was made promptly and professionally. Several systemic changes designed for the prevention of future error resulted from some complaints, as both Ms. Akins and Ms. Tucker understood the responsibilities they had undertaken on our behalf.
When not at work, Ms. Akins and Ms. Tucker filled their hours with their duties as wives and mothers. They were good and faithful spouses, caring and nurturing parents, loving members of their extended families and vital contributors to an array of civic, charitable and religious causes. They gave leadership and support to a variety of causes, without complaint or limitation, and our community was much the better for it.
We cannot erase the memory of the last acts of these ladies, to which much attention has been paid. Neither can we use that single chapter to describe Ms. Akins and Ms. Tucker. There is more, and if this letter reminds the reader to note the "big picture," or to recall their own unique and personal memories, then a purpose will have been served.
In some years as a lawyer in Statesboro, I have come to know both of these ladies and to appreciate the work they have done for all of us. While they may have a price to pay for the misdeeds of which they are accused, let it be fair and just, and when paid, let it be. For myself, I am grateful for their service and sad at its end, but proud to think of Sherri Akins and Teresa Tucker as friends. God bless them both.
Michael J. Classens