Ratliff to challenge for Essex County clerk post; Provoncha unsure

ELIZABETHTOWN — Kari Ratliff is looking to move from the Department of Motor Vehicles to the position of Essex County clerk.

She hopes to snag the Republican Party endorsement; she has already won the nod from Moriah town Supervisor Tom Scozzafava, a Republican.

“She’s been a county clerk employee for a number of years, a very good employee,” he said. “I think she’ll make an excellent county clerk.”

Incumbent county Clerk Joseph Provoncha, also a Republican, expressed himself undecided about seeking re-election.

He has held the four-year elected position for 28 years, defeating challengers the past two elections.

Under Provoncha’s leadership, the clerk’s office — which includes the DMV — has been building an online presence, with all county deeds available for public viewing.

“I’m working on the mortgages now,” he said.

Next will be the tax rolls — “a huge project.”

“Being fiscally responsible is first on my agenda,” Ratliff said in announcing her candidacy. “Improving morale is a very close second.”

Ratliff, who lives in Westport with her husband of almost 33 years, Jim, moved to the town of Lewis from Connecticut when she was 12. She was hired as a motor vehicle license clerk in 1996 and promoted to the position of assistant motor vehicle supervisor in January 2003.

In June 2005, she was named motor vehicle supervisor.

As clerk, she would aim to see the clerk’s office and DMV “continue to grow and that its staff is shown appreciation and respect for their good work,” Ratliff said.

Ratliff said her experience gives her the qualifications she needs to serve as county clerk.

Ratliff has been much involved in her community, serving on the Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School Board, the North Country SPCA Board, volunteering as a Brownie leader and taking part in the Breathe for Nate Cystic Fibrosis Walk and Root for a Cure Breast Cancer Walk.

She could meet Provoncha head-to-head in the Republican primary set for June 25. The winner would be on the ballot for the general election set for Nov. 5.

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