LIVINGSTON CO.— After 20 years in office, and 29 years as an elected official in Livingston County, county clerk James Culbertson will not run for re-election this year. Culbertson, who served five terms as county clerk, will step down as of Dec. 31.
“I have been blessed with a supportive family, an exceptional group of coworkers and a host of friends and associates who have made it possible for me to serve the people of Livingston County for over a quarter century,” Culbertson said. “Personally and professionally it’s time for me to step down.”
While serving as county clerk, Culbertson successfully digitized land records, deeds and most of the office. Court records are in the process of being digitized as well. Embracing the modern world is one of Culbertson’s proudest legacies from his time in office.
The process of bringing modern technology to the office began in 1997 with the help of Deputy Clerk Mary Striklin and I.T. director Dale Nieswadomy. Digitizing the office was no easy task but Culbertson said it is well worth it in the end as it makes it easier for the office and the public to find records.
Having worked for Eastman Kodak Company for 26 years before being elected as county clerk, Culbertson already had computer experience and used that to move the clerk’s office to the digital world.
“Streamlining how we do business will enable the clerk’s office to be still more productive in the future,” he said. “As well as speeding up access to these public records.”
Culbertson also started the Veteran’s discount program in 2012. The program allows veterans to benefit from business discounts throughout the county. The card has already been distributed to almost 1,000 veterans with close to 131 businesses patricipating.
Culbertson’s real legacy, however; is the highly praised customer service from his staff. Culbertson explained he inherited a capable and willing staff when he became county clerk, but his goal was to make the organization better.
“We have good customer service at the Department of Motor Vehicle and county clerk’s offices. They’re all very customer oriented and that’s come a long way,” he said. “The staff goes out of their way to help people and won’t give up until the customer is satisfied. They take a lot of pride in helping the customer.”
When the time comes for nominations, Culbertson said he’ll be endorsing Deputy Clerk Mary Striklin. Striklin has 30 years of experience in the office and 26 as deputy clerk.
“I fully support and endorse her (Striklin),” he said. “She’s wonderfully experienced and would make a great county clerk.”
As for Culbertson, he plans on stepping back and enjoying life a little bit more, taking in a few high school baseball games and visiting his grandchildren in Florida and Connecticut.
He won’t, however disappear completely from the spotlight. Culbertson will still sit on the Nicholas H. Noyes Memorial Hospital board, Livingston County Chamber board and the Dansville economic development cooperation.