EBENSBURG – After more than 40 years in the office, Cambria County Clerk of Courts Susan Kuhar has announced her plans to retire in December at the end of her term.
Kuhar first started working at Cambria County Courthouse in 1976 as part of a summer job program and eventually worked in the business office of Laurel Crest nursing home for one year before joining the clerk of courts office in 1977.
She was first elected to the position in 2000.
“I started at the bottom and did every position all the way up,” Kuhar said.
“It’s changed so much.”
When Kuhar first started working in the office, orders were added to criminal dockets through typewriters. In 1991, the office added computers.
In 2004, the state took over the criminal docket computer system to create a streamlined filing process across every county, which “greatly organized this office,” Kuhar said.
In 2013, Kuhar’s staff began scanning criminal docket filings, which the state began integrating two years ago. Last year, her office began allowing registered attorneys to file motions electronically from anywhere.
The office started accepting electronic payments in 2010, allowing the public to make fine payments online. In 2014, electronic payments for bail began.
Kuhar, a Conemaugh Valley High School graduate, has taken numerous law courses over the years and earned her paralegal certification from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1987.
Throughout her time as clerk of courts, Kuhar has served as president of the Pennsylvania Association of Prothonotaries and Clerks of Court and has been involved of a committee created to resolve issues and come up with updates to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC) computer system.
Kuhar’s office is tasked with keeping adult criminal records, issuing licenses for bail bondsmen and private detectives, appointing minor and major inspectors for election polls and handling constable identification cards and filings.
For whomever fills her shoes next year, Kuhar said it will take awhile to learn the ropes, but it will be important to do the job alongside staff as she has.
“They’re going to have to want to learn the office and be willing to be a full-time working clerk of courts,” she said.
“The office is so complex,” but created an atmosphere in which Kuhar said each day was interesting.
The decision to retire was a tough one, Kuhar added, but will allow her to travel and spend more time with her husband, Dave, who recently retired.
“Everyone always told me, ‘you’ll know when it’s time,’ ” she said.
“It’s been an honor to serve along with the other row officers.”
Kuhar also thanked her staff, many of whom have worked in the office for at least 10 years or more.
“I couldn’t have done this job without them,” she said.