Serving the public since January 2007 as district clerk is Melanie Reed.

Reed’s family has a history of serving the residents of Ellis County starting with her grandfather, Bill Price, who served in the some position during late 1960s and early 1970s, and more recently with her brother, Mark Price, who served as county treasurer.

“When I was in elementary school, I would go visit my grandfather when the clerk’s office was in the courthouse downtown. The sign is still there on the second floor that still reads ‘District Clerk,’ ” Reed said.

“When he was in the office, it was just him and his secretary and it didn’t handle nearly the volume then that it does today. Everything was done by hand and when I go out and look in those books out there I can still see his handwriting on the document. That is really neat,” she said.

Reed was motivated to go into public service after her church, First United Methodist of Waxahachie, took in 40 people who were evacuated from New Orleans during the storm and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

“When they came here, all they had was a trash bag that was filled with the only possessions they could bring with them. They just touched my heart to where I wanted to do something in public service to make a positive difference,” she said.

The District Clerk’s Office handles from 300 to 400 records each month with a staff of 12 employees. The office is charged with being a custodian of record for the county, keeping track of all documents that are filed in a court case. They also issue subpoenas, notices, citations, abstracts, writs, temporary restraining orders and warrants.  The office is also charged with sending notifications for potential jurors.

Different dockets for the courts are prepared, setting the dates for hearings and trials. Court minutes are compiled and transcripts of proceeding for appeals and writs of habeas corpus also are done through the clerk’s office.

A second responsibility for the office is the management of records.

“We handle the two district courts here in Ellis County. All of the filings are done here in this office. We keep up with all of the paperwork and pleadings. Also all CPS cases are filed in our office as well,” she said.

“People that come to this office come here because they have a particular interest in a single case,” she said. “We don’t do as much as with the county clerk like recording the land plats. Basically, we are charged with recording all of the judicial records.”

The District Clerk’s Office also is responsible for the collection of court costs, child support payments and other fees, among other duties, including the acceptance of passport applications.

The office is open from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; passport hours are from 8-11 a.m. and from 1-3:30 p.m.

“With this job, you get the feeling like you are making a difference in the lives of the people you encounter,” Reed said. “This job is more than I expected but I’m blessed with a staff that is so good and has helped me tremendously along the way.”

E-mail Andrew at andrew.branca@wninews.com