Liberty County Clerk of Courts F. Barry Wilkes received the 2015 Superior Court Clerks’ Association of Georgia’s ÉCLAT Award on Oct. 8 during ceremonies in Savannah.
“Having worked closely with him for many years through the authority, I can say with absolute conviction that there is no greater advocate for superior-court clerks in our state than Barry Wilkes,” said John Earle, director of the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority, while presenting the award during the association’s business meeting.
Earle cited Wilkes’ efforts to craft Senate Bill 135, which has since been signed into law. That measure says clerks of superior court “are the sole and official custodians of all records in their offices, that no one can legally usurp this role, and protects such invaluable records from unauthorized and illegal access or usage,” Earle said.
Earle said the change from paper to electronic records in many superior-court clerks’ offices throughout the state made the legislation essential to safeguard them.
Greg Allen, clerk of the Superior Court of Forsyth County and chairman of the association’s legislative committee, shared the ÉCLAT award with Wilkes. Allen received the award for his leadership and lobbying efforts to enact SB 135.
The award was established in 2005 by the Superior Court Clerks’ Association of Georgia as a means for recognizing superior-court clerks for “exceptional commitment, leadership, accomplishment and teamwork.” The first letters of each word form the acronym “ÉCLAT.” The award may be presented annually, although the selection committee can elect not to confer the award. A recipient must be an actively serving clerk of superior court.
In 2013, Wilkes was the first superior-court clerk to receive a lifetime-achievement award from the association. He also received the ÉCLAT Award that year for authoring House Bill 665 to modernize and overhaul almost all pertinent provisions of law affecting superior-court clerks to ensure the integrity and archiving of court and land records.