The office of Clerk Deborah Comery is like a calm oasis amid the constant activity that is the Rocky River Municipal Court.
“I spend a lot of time here, so I want to make it comfortable,” Comery said of the space, which resembles a living room with a couch and earth-toned walls displaying photos from her trip to Scotland. It was this devotion to her work and her efforts to communicate with and keep fellow clerks informed that led Comery to be named Clerk of the Year by the Ohio Association of Municipal and County Court Clerks (OAMCCC) at its recent spring conference in Columbus. She was also honored with the association’s Professional Certification Award, which is based on an individual’s education, experience, conference attendance and in-service training.
“I’m the type of person who just ‘does.’ I never thought in a million years I would get something like this,” remarked Comery. A native of West Springfield, Mass. Comery has been a Rocky River resident since 1969. She joined OAMCCC after being appointed chief deputy clerk in 1996 by then Rocky River court clerk William Gareau, who was familiar with her background as a legal assistant. She was elected Clerk of Courts in 2008.
Comery summarized her job as being “a giant notary.” As keeper of court records, it is her responsibility to make sure every document is properly filed and passed on to the judges. All court funds are also taken in through her office, including fines and any in- or out-of-court costs.
During a tour of the court, Comery stated that the Rocky River Court is self-sufficient, requiring no funds from the city. However, should the court go into default, the five cities sharing the facility – Bay Village, Fairview Park, North Olmsted, Rocky River and Westlake – would have to make payment. According to the 2010 annual court report, an overage of approximately $70,000 went to the host city, Rocky River, to cover utility costs. Total funds gathered for last year was $3,079,768.05.
Describing the OAMCCC as “a wonderful group of minds that share motivation,” Comery said that during her time as a deputy clerk, she decided to get more involved, and became an initiator of what she called a fledgling informational e-mail network for clerks.
“You can always learn something,” she said. “There is always a piece of information to pick up.”