Baltimore County gets new court clerk

Baltimore County has a new clerk of the courts, and the current clerk has told her staff that she won't stand in his way.

The decision of Suzanne Mensh to step down May 31 after 24 years as clerk averts a confrontation with Richard D. Arnold Jr., who has been appointed to take over June 1.

Mensh, 80, said in February that she would retire at the end of May. But a month later, she reconsidered, and attempted to rescind her retirement.

By then, the court system had heard from more than a dozen applicants interested in completing the remainder of her four-year term, which ends in November. The position pays $98,500 a year.

Judge John Grason Turnbull II, chief administrative judge of the Baltimore County Circuit Court, said Mensh could not take her retirement back. She threatened to remain in office anyway and possibly to seek re-election in November.

Mensh could not be reached for comment. An assistant said she informed her staff Monday of Arnold's appointment and her retirement. A spokesman for Turnbull confirmed the appointment.

Arnold, 52, has worked in the judicial system for 30 years, the past 24 as supervisor of the juvenile division of the circuit court.

He said his experience would lead to "a smooth transition." He will go from supervising nine employees to about 125.

"I know all these people," he said. "I know what they can do, and I know they will all work for me."

The Towson resident has filed to run for a full four-year term as clerk in November. He will face at least one fellow Democrat, Anna K. Pearce, in a September primary. Democratic Councilman Sam Moxley also has said he is considering a run.

"I certainly hope the appointment gives me an edge in the campaign," Arnold said. "I have been out and about, talking about my qualifications, experience and training."

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