By Clarence Cuthpert, Jr.
Rockdale Probate Judge
Over the past 11 months, we have made several changes to the Probate Court to enhance our efficiency and level of service to the citizens and legal community.
Prior to the beginning of my first term as Probate Judge in January 2017, and subsequent thereto, I visited the probate courts of several surrounding jurisdictions, including Henry, Fulton, DeKalb, Walton, Athens-Clarke and Gwinnett counties to observe their operations. My primary purpose for these visits was to determine if their practices were more efficient than those used by our probate court. I appreciate those judges opening their doors to me, and I gained valuable information in the process. As a result, we were able to streamline some processes and become more thorough in others.
During our transition period, the Probate Court staff experienced some challenges due to the changes that were implemented. These changes included cross-training all clerks, performing tasks beyond the scope of their normal duties, and improving the overall efficiency and professionalism of the Court. I am proud to say that through dedication and hard work, my current staff has made the necessary adjustments, and we are all optimistic about achieving our goals to better serve the community.
As Probate Judge, I have also attempted to inform the citizens of Rockdale County of the services provided by the probate court by writing several articles for the Constitutional Corner. These services include the probate and administration of estates; guardianships and conservatorships for adults; temporary guardianships for minors; issuance of marriage licenses, weapons carry licenses, birth certificates, and death certificates; and Orders to Apprehend (a/k/a 1013s). I sincerely hope that those who have read the articles found them to be informative and helpful while navigating through the various processes that have been addressed.
Additionally, I have spoken to and met with several organizations throughout Rockdale including the Rockdale Autism Society, Olivia Haydel Senior Center, Rockdale County Public Schools, and several churches to provide information about the Probate Court’s processes of specific interest to them.
Most recently, my staff and I participated in the Mental Health forums focused on Hope and Recovery, and Suicide Awareness. The forums were well attended and the Probate Court is very proud to have been a part of such a worthy cause. The Court also participated in the Conyers Latin Festival. This event was huge in that it educated the Latino and Hispanic community in regards to the services available to them in Rockdale.
During the course of this year, I also attended the Probate Judges Day at the Capitol with the Council of Probate Judges of Georgia. I had an opportunity to meet with most of the legislators representing Rockdale. I also participated in the Rockin’ Rockdale Countywide Cleanup, served lunch at Conyers Middle School during National School Lunch Week and served as one of the judges for the Rockdale County Middle Schools’ Oratorical Contest. All of these activities were intended to increase awareness of the probate court, as well as its importance and contributions to this community.
As we move into the New Year, the probate court will continue to improve and expand our services. The Probate Court’s participation in activities intended to inform and enhance the community will continue as well.
Have a safe and Happy Holiday season!
Throughout each month, the clerk of courts, tax commissioner, sheriff and probate judge—Rockdale’s elected constitutional officers—discuss topics relevant to their respective roles