Cherie Rutherford, new court clerk for Kearny County, says she is stepping into big shoes, but thinks with time her feet will grow to fit them.
Court Administrator Kurtis Jacobs formally introduced the Garden City resident to the Kearny County Commission on Dec. 8. At the moment, she is undergoing intensive training, which will continue for three months.
Rutherford takes over for Cathy Cole, who retired Dec. 5, after 34 years of state employment. Hers are big shoes to fill, Rutherford said during a break in her training schedule when she visited the District Court in Garden City last week.
“Right now, it is just about learning the systems to enter court documents, maintaining the judge’s docket and processing paperwork,” Rutherford said. “Those are my primary responsibilities; maintaining the budget for the District Court is also part of my job.”
Rutherford said she is not bringing any new qualities to the table at the moment. “I am just the new face,” she said, adding that Kearny, being a small community, her role would also be small compared to, say the Finney County court. “I look forward to meeting and developing those relationships with the people of the community.”
She thinks in the first few years, she will be very busy especially since there will be many things to learn along the way.
Rutherford worked in a private prison as a training manager for several years, she said. This was while her family lived in Colorado. “When we moved back to Kansas I worked with Community Corrections, then with Mosaic for some years,” she said, adding that her experience has been mostly with people service in different areas.
“I like doing this,” she said. “The law is interesting as most of it is good.” Rutherford said when she sees laws changed to help people, she feels happy.
In a system where many who visit the courts are there under adverse conditions, Rutherford likes to visit with people and to connect with them in a more personal way.
“Nobody comes to the courts because they want to. They many times would rather be doing something else,” she said, adding that she tries to make the experience as pleasant as possible for those who must visit.
In a job where the work becomes routine, where issuing writs and orders, filing and preserving papers are the order of the day, Rutherford said she will have to learn as quickly and to the best of her ability as possible.
“At the end of the day, my goal is to walk away and say I did a good job today,” she said with conviction.
Rutherford is a native of Garden City, where she lives with her husband and three daughters. She lived away from Garden City for 18 years before returning.