There’s a saying that when one door closes another one opens, and that’s true for Jamie Smith, who today closed the door on his job in the county clerk’s office only to open the door to leadership of the district clerk’s office.
Smith was elected as Jefferson County District Clerk in November, and took the oath of office Jan. 8 at the Jefferson County Courthouse.
The swearing-in ceremony was of a serious nature, but certainly wasn’t somber, with the crowd erupting into applause after a powerful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by Cheryl Guidry, founder of Lighthouse United Inc.
When Jefferson County’s newest district attorney but well-known former judge Bob Wortham made remarks, the ceremony almost took on the tone of a roast. The DA joked that he “investigated” Smith and discovered that he sings military war songs in the shower.
Smith has worked in the county clerk’s office for 10 years, and since 2007 Smith has also worked part-time as Beaumont City Council Member for Ward IV.
Wortham said Smith passed all the tests of character and showed himself to be a true public servant during his time on Beaumont City Council.
Smith took the oath from Texas Ninth District Court of Appeals Chief Justice Steve McKeithen. His wife, Melanie Smith, and son, Jordan Smith, held the Bible.
After the oath, Beaumont City Attorney Tyrone Cooper reminisced about meeting Smith when he was a new member of city council seven years ago, and got to know him better when he joined Smith’s golf foursome.
“You learn a lot about people when you play golf with them,” Cooper joked.
But he, too, said Smith had the heart of a public servant.
“Everybody’s pot hole became Jamie’s pot hole,” Cooper said.
When it was his turn to speak, Smith thanked his supporters and revealed that in addition to the already grueling schedule of the campaign, he had been displaced for nine months due to a house fire and spent many weeks recuperating from surgery that he thought would only take one week.
He also thanked Bill Sam, who stepped in to represent Smith at many campaign events during those times. Sam has now been appointed to finish Smith’s term on Beaumont City Council.
In Jefferson County, the district clerk has a duty to keep the records of the district court safe and properly arranged. According to the Texas Association of Counties, the district clerk must, among other things record the acts and proceedings of the district court, enter all judgments of the court under the direction of the judge, record all executions issued and the returns issued on the executions, administer child support payments, administer trust accounts for minors ordered by the courts keep an index of the parties to all suits filed in the court, and make reference to any judgment made in the case and keep an account of all funds collected by the office, including fines and fees, and determine the amount due to citizens who serve on a jury in district court.