Justin Power was recently recognized as a certified Clerk of Superior Court in Georgia after completing the requirements of the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government.
Power, 35, had to complete more than 70 hours of coursework and write a project thesis to become certified. He also has to complete six hours of continuing education each year to maintain the certification.
He has served as Dawson County Clerk of Superior Court since August of 2010 after he was elected to fill the unexpired term of the previous clerk. He ran unopposed and was re-elected in 2012 and 2016.
The position is one Power admits most people don’t know is elected. Power’s duties and responsibilities are laid out for him in the Georgia Constitution, just like the sheriff or the tax commissioner.
He laughs, though, at the thought of boiling his job down into a sentence or two.
“There is no typical day,” Power said. “There are so many different facets to this office, from jury management all the way to filing a lien. Every day you come into this office, the situations are different, you’re helping a different person everyday...there is no standard day.”
Along with being the Clerk of Superior and Juvenile Court, Power is responsible for jury management, land records management, civil and criminal case management, passport processing and scheduling and providing administrative duties to the board of equalizations, among others.
“I’ve got a great staff that help facilitate each one of those things,” Power said. “When it comes to employees, I feel like I have the cream of the crop. I never have to worry about the job they do or anything they do because I know they have the office’s best interests at heart.”
Power’s office employs nine people, eight full time and one part time.
One of his employees, Deputy Clerk Diane
Avery, has worked for Power for the past five years, and with the county for
two years prior to that.
She is in tears as she talks about her employer.
“He’s the best, he takes care of us,” Avery said. “He’s a very special man. I think he would do anything to help anybody in the best way he could. He always has a smile on his face and always welcomes everybody.”
One big change Power said he has seen since he was first elected, especially since the county moved its offices into the new government center in February 2012, is how much more technology is being used.
“I’d never seen so many filing cabinets- they were in the halls, they were stacked on top of each other, they were everywhere,” Power said, describing the old courthouse. “Now we don’t really have any filing cabinets, it's all in the automated filing system in the record room. And we’ve started e-filing a lot more.”
Customers now have the option to electronically file liens, land records, deeds and civil cases, Power said.
Learning all of the duties of a clerk took time, though Power did go in with knowledge of real estate and law, he said. The court side was new, and he learned a lot about the process when he started out.
“I still learn something new every day,” Power said. “I think I’ll learn something new until I retire with this job.”
Power graduated in 2004 with a business management degree from what was then North Georgia College & State University. Prior to becoming clerk, he had a real estate license and worked at a real estate law firm preparing closings.
He has been married to Sallie, a second grade teacher at Robinson Elementary School, for ten years, and is father to Ella, 6, and Raleigh, 5.
He grew up in Forsyth County and is a graduate of South Forsyth High School.
His twin brother, Jason, has served on the Dawsonville City Council since 2012.
Power said he hopes to continue to serve as Clerk of Superior Court for as long as God allows.
“For the past seven years I’ve really enjoyed it and hopefully I’ve helped people,” Power said. “I thank God for the opportunity to serve as Dawson County’s Clerk of Superior Court.”