Cote appointed as county clerk

By: 
Alexis Barker

Photo by Alexis Barker/NLJ

Newly appointed Weston County Clerk of District Court Tina Cote swears in Monday morning in the Weston County Commissioners’ room at the Weston County Courthouse. Cote has worked in the office of the Clerk of District Court for the last 12 years and was the deputy under former clerk Gidget Macke, who passed away in late October. 

Alexis Barker

NLJ News Editor

 

On Friday, Nov. 22, the Weston County Commissioners voted unanimously to appoint Weston County’s Deputy Clerk of District Court Tina Cote to fulfill the unexpired term left by the passing of Clerk Gidget Macke last month, but not without fanfare. 

Prior to beginning the interviews of the three candidates, Tina Cote, Vicki Keierleber and Melissa Ault, whose names were sent forward to the commissioners, by the local Republican party, the group of five commissioners discussed removing one of the applicants from consideration altogether. 

Commission Marty Ertman motioned to remove Ault from the list of applicants, noting that she was not a registered Republican prior to that day. Ault had, at the meeting with the Weston County Republican Party on Tuesday, Nov. 19, stated that she was a registered Republican. 

Weston County Commission Chairman Tony Barton stated after the motion was made that the statutes surrounding the appointment of the new district court clerk are ambiguous, one stating that the person should be qualified to hold office at the meeting with the county central committee and another stating that the individual must meet the requirements set forth by statute on the day of appointment. 

Barton continued that Weston County Attorney Alex Berger’s opinion on the issue was that all three applicants should be considered. 

Commissioner Tracy Hunt added that when a court is faced with ambiguity they err on the side of franchise, which would mean let them run and let the people decide if they are qualified. 

“I think the people of Weston County are better served if we balance all considerations,” Hunt said. “Rarely we will all fall on one side or the other.” 

He noted that he believes the constituents are better served by a broader consideration and that he does not see the law clearly disqualifying Ault from consideration. 

After the brief discussion, the commissioners voted on the motion to remove Ault, which failed by a 2-3 vote with both Ertman and Commissioner Nathan Todd voting for the motion. 

Following this motion, the commissioners interviewed the three candidates although Ertman and Todd removed themselves from the room prior to Ault’s interview in an act of protest to her consideration by the commission. 

After Ertman and Todd returned to the commissioner’s room of the Weston County Courthouse, following Ault’s departure from the courthouse, Ertman moved to appoint Cote to fulfill the unexpired term for Weston County District Court Clerk, with the vote carrying, 5-0

Cote was sworn in Monday morning, taking her place as clerk of district court until January 2023, unless reelected in the 2022 general election. 

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