Chavez chosen as clerk of the year

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Isabel Chavez has been recognized as Magistrate Court Clerk of the Year/Southwest Area for her work at Socorro Magistrate Court.

This is the second time Chavez has been so recognized. Chavez received the same award in 2006, but she said she was not as surprised by that award as she is by the 2012 award.

"When I got here, there was a backlog for years," Chavez said.

Chavez said during her first days at Magistrate Court, she would go home wondering if she had made a mistake leaving District Court. But within about a year and a half, files were organized and the backlog of cases was no more.

Chavez was presented the award plaque during a ceremony Monday afternoon in the Magistrate Court administrative office by Karen Janes, director of the state Magistrate Court Division of the New Mexico State Judiciary Department, and Sherry Weingarten, president of the New Mexico Magistrate Court Clerks Association.

The southwest region, for which Chavez was awarded, also includes magistrate courts in Las Cruces, Deming and Truth or Consequences.

Chavez, who retires at the end of this year, has been the court manager at Magistrate Court since August 2004. Before that, she was a 7th Judicial District Court clerk. She retires at the end of this month with 13 1/2 years working for the New Mexico State Judiciary.

"This is an exceptionally well-working court. When I first came here 10 years ago, there were piles like this of files," Janes said, her hand hovering three feet above a desk to indicate the size.