The Daviess County Public Library (DCPL) has been an integral part of Leslie McCarty’s life for the last 15 years. The former Griffith Avenue location is where she first met her husband and the current location on Frederica Street served as a backdrop for their engagement photos. Books have been such an important part of their lives that the two even opted to give them out as favors at their wedding. McCarty found her niche in the historical pages of the DCPL Kentucky Room, but in 2019, she will begin a new chapter in the county clerk’s office.
McCarty, who defeated Democratic opponent Richard House by a difference of 1,716 votes in November, is the first female to be elected as Daviess County Clerk, as all prior female county clerks were appointed. While McCarty takes pride in that accomplishment, she is also grateful that House has agreed to stay on at the clerk’s office, regardless of the election outcome.
“I didn’t want him to go; I left that up to him. I know that it was pretty hurtful not to win,” McCarty said. “He has so much knowledge and is such an asset, I would have hated to see him go. But I would have understood it — this is what he worked his whole life for.”
McCarty said she did receive a little flack concerning the idea that her election victory may have been associated with voters selecting a straight Republican ticket.
“Hopefully, people will just give me a chance to do a good job, that is really all I can ask for,” she said. “I do have a leadership skill set that will help lead that office…I have a great staff. I know most of them are excited for a new journey.”
While McCarty has been responsible for as many as 55 employees in her position as interim director at the library, she does welcome the challenge of learning the many roles of the county clerk’s office.
“We are going to meet one-on-one and I’m going to get to know them — in essence, they are going to show me what they do,” McCarty said. “Because I don’t think you can be a good leader without knowing what your employees do. It’s never been my style not to be in the trenches.”
Although McCarty wants some time to “see what the waters are like” before she begins creating a concrete set of goals, she does intend to increase the social media presence of the county clerk’s office so that the public is kept aware of the various services they offer.
McCarty feels confident in the strong skill set she brings to the table, but she also recognizes the fact that she has a lot to learn in her position as county clerk.
“I think the knowledge I will gain is day-to-day operations and seeing a different side of the government,” McCarty said. “The library is considered part of the government, but the library board has a different set of rules and regulations. Coming into something like this, I am totally responsible for that office and I definitely want to do a good job.”