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Barger named state’s top county clerk

There’s 100 county clerks in North Carolina, but Rowan County’s was named the best in the state Saturday during the North Carolina Association of County Clerks’ annual conference.

The association awarded Carolyn Barger, Clerk to the Rowan County Board of Commissioners, with its Howard Holly Outstanding Clerk Award. The award is presented “in recognition of accomplishments superior to accepted standards and distinguished continuing contributions to county government in North Carolina,” according to the association’s website. Barger is the first Rowan County clerk to ever receive the honor, according to the association’s records. The association’s clerk of the year award was first given to Stanly County’s clerk in 1982.

The award’s recipient was kept secret until the announcement on Saturday. Barger’s husband Jeff knew she was scheduled to receive the award and arranged for family members to attend. Family members were kept in another room until Barger was announced as the award’s recipient.

“I never thought I would achieve something like this,” Barger said on Monday. “It takes a lot of work and dedication and you know you’ve hit a milestone when you get it. I was reeling from shock when everyone from my family walked in.”

She joked that the most important job duty of any county clerk is to never pick sides in a political discussion.

Barger’s career in local government began in 1994 in the Town of Cleveland as a part-time clerk. She was hired as a deputy clerk for Rowan County in 1999 and promoted to her current position in 2005.

Prior to working in local government, she worked for Salisbury Machinery Company as a secretary and bookkeeper.

She received a Master Municipal Clerk certification — an honor she is equally proud of — in 2014. The North Carolina Association of County Clerks also arranged a special certification through the North Carolina School of Government. Barger was a member of the first-ever class.

She also served as the president of the North Carolina Association of County Clerks from 2013 to 2014.

Next year, Barger will have a role in the award selection. The previous recipient is part of a committee that helps select the next winner, Barger said.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246

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