Hello, my name is Karen Bushell and I am running for Clerk of the Court!
Let me tell you a little bit about myself and why I am the best qualified person to be the next elected Clerk of the Court in Montgomery County. I have over 20 years of experience working for the Maryland Judiciary. I have worked in various roles during my time within the Montgomery County Courts, including Human Resources Associate, Judicial Assistant for two judges, Jury Office Assistant, and my six and a half years working as the Chief Deputy Clerk for the previous Clerk. When Clerk Meiklejohn retired before her term was finished, I was sworn in on April 1, 2021, to complete her term. I know what it takes to successfully operate the Clerk’s Office and I continue to lead the impressive and dedicated staff that work in the Clerk’s Office at the Circuit Court.
During the Covid-19 pandemic I was instrumental in creating new procedures that assisted attorneys and the public to have access to justice while the courthouse was closed to the public and during our re-opening phases. We instituted a new system that allowed litigants to electronically file motions, responses, and other requests that did not require payment, so that they could safely file and answer motions from their home or office. I worked closely with Court Administration and the Administrative Judge to create very effective remote proceeding dockets. We successfully kept our Land Records Department open by meeting title abstractors outside the courthouse three times a day to conduct business. By doing this, we were able to keep the public and our employees safe and still allow the transactions in the Land Records Department to never miss a day. During the Covid-19 emergency period, we were also able to accept marriage applications via email, drop box, or by USPS due to the special exception granted by the Governor. I also worked closely with our staff to ensure their safe return to work. We provided plexiglass for all employee’s workstations, provided face masks, hand sanitizer and other safety measures to help our staff remain healthy and feel safe in their workplace.
On October 25, 2021, the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland had a successful implementation of our new paperless case management system, MDEC (Maryland Electronic Courts). This project has been on-going for several years and Montgomery County is the second large county to go-live in Maryland. This new paperless system will help all the attorneys and self-represented litigants to benefit from a 24 hour a day filing system. We are now part of a statewide case management system that will improve access to justice to all citizens of Montgomery County that need the services of the court. My staff and I have worked very hard to make this transition as smooth and seamless as possible and I whole heartedly welcome MDEC to the Montgomery County Circuit Court.
I will continue to embrace the very diverse community that is Montgomery County, and is representative of the Clerk’s Office. I currently have 185 employees, and our demographics are as varied as our county. We have 125 female employees and 50 male employees, ranging in age from 23 to 80. We have approximately 70 Caucasian employees, 47 African American employees, 12 Asian American employees, 42 Hispanic employees, 11 employees that identify as multi-racial and 3 employees that self-describe as non-specific. My management team is also varied, and this helps to foster an inclusive and diverse work environment.
I welcome the opportunity to speak with you and hope that you contact me so that we can begin a dialogue about what is important to you as you do business at the Circuit Court.
You can reach me at ClerkKarenBushell@gmail.com
I ask for your vote and I thank you for the opportunity to serve the citizens of Montgomery County, Maryland.