Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

June 12, 2013

Deputy Clerk juggles accounts, clients

Crittenden uses empathy to improve morale

VALDOSTA — Barbara Crittenden, Chief Deputy Clerk for the Clerk of the Lowndes County Superior Court, is more than just an accountant or a bookkeeper; she is a woman with a flair for empathy.

Crittenden is confronted daily with people who come into court to pay their fines and legal fees, who aren't always in the best of moods, but over the years, she has learned to take the time to hear these individuals out and offer the best explanation she can.

"I let them get it all out in the open," Crittenden said. "I try to calm them down. I tell them that I'm here doing the job, and that I'm here to work with you and work for you. I tell them that I'm sorry for whatever happened, and that it's not my fault but that we can work through it."

As Chief Deputy Clerk, Crittenden is responsible for more than 3,000 accounts for the State and Superior courts including child support, probationary fines, real estate and other payments. And many times, sometimes several times a day, Crittenden must use tact to defuse what could escalate into a great argument over court-ordered payments from individuals who must pay or suffer legal consequences.

"Believe it or not, I have people who do come in and when they get through yelling at me, they cry, and I feel sorry for them," Crittenden said. "They're upset because they feel they've paid enough money already. I get a little bit of it all, and I try to sympathize if I can, and if not, I tell them I understand. I may not have been in that situation, but I do understand."

Crittenden began with the Clerk's office in 1989, and held several positions until she took over for her supervisor when she retired. Bookkeeping and account management is something Crittenden understands deeply coming from a career as a CPA and a former banker.

Even though she has the same basic responsibilities as a banker, Crittenden enjoys working for the court system a little more, she said, because working with the lawyers, judges and within the parameters of the law makes the job unique and interesting.

"It's the people," Crittenden said. "It's the type of people that we deal with. With banks, you have just regular customers come in and make deposits."

Most of her clients are men and women who come in to make payments on child support accounts, who are often "very nice," according to Crittenden.

"One guy just told me that even though he's paying a large sum of money and that irritates him, he enjoys coming in to see me," Crittenden said. "They see I have a smile on my face, and we have pleasant conversations."

Under Superior Court Clerk Beth Greene, Crittenden's secondary responsibilities include filling in for Greene when she is indisposed, and "making sure everything is taken care of" throughout the day. Crittenden works with 18 other women in the office, and manages them to make sure the office runs smoothly.

"It's not really a big thing that you do," Crittenden said about her management responsibilities. "You're just there in case something happens."

Crittenden has worked for the Superior Court for 24 years, and plans to continue for at least the next four years. During the next election cycle, she may make other plans, she said.

Text Only
Local News
  • 140421 - flooding Shiloh Rd B#1.jpg Road re-opens following flooding

    Lowndes County officials re-opened one road Monday while keeping an eye on the area’s waterways for potential flooding.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Justice_Scales.jpg Second ‘Quitman 11’ case mistrial

    Another week-long trial ended again in mistrial last week in the case of Lula Smart, the Brooks County woman charged in a case of unlawful possession of election ballots, according to court officials Monday.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • graphic.jpg School systems get report cards

    South Georgia school systems received mixed results, with some showing performance increases while others suffered decreases, in the College and Career Ready Performance Index released Monday by Georgia State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • flood4c.jpg Flood warning extended

    A flood warning for the Withlacoochee River at Valdosta has been extended until Wednesday afternoon.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • doug henderson.jpg Memorial tourney returns

    The Doug Henderson III Memorial Golf Tournament has raised thousands of dollars for scholarship funds and to help organizations throughout the region.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914-WA-Egghunt021.jpg Park puts wild spin on Easter tradition

    Adventurous egg hunters braved overcast skies and a persistent drizzle to search for hidden prizes Saturday during Wild Adventure’s first Ostrich Egg Hunt.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • FallenTree003.JPG More spills reported

    City of Valdosta employees have spent the weekend responding to spills caused by several inches of rain that have again drenched the city during the past few days.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Underwater Easter_Rich copy.jpg Stories behind ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’

    Christ comes from the Greek word, “Christos,” meaning “the anointed one.”

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140418_valwood001.jpg Valwood students register to vote

    Valwood teaches its students about the importance of voting. Each year, the school has encouraged eligible seniors to register to vote and participate in local elections.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • wadebrandon14.jpg Police still seeking missing mother, son

    Though their assignments have changed during the past dozen years, Valdosta Police Capt. Bobbi McGraw and Sgt. Chris Crews continue working the case of a missing mother and her son.

    April 19, 2014 3 Photos

Top News

Given the amount of rain recently, what's your favorite “rain” song?

Singing in the Rain
Purple Rain
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
November Rain
Rainy Night in Georgia
     View Results