A job is something that’s short term. A career is something for the long term that you truly love.
Vicky Maxwell started her service for the city of Stuttgart 45 years ago as a deputy court clerk. 43 of those years she has served as the District Court Clerk for Arkansas County – Nothern District.
Currently, the right hand for District Judge, the Honorable Jeremy Bueker, Maxwell has worked under numerous judges during her tenure.
Maxwell was 21-years-old when she was given the opportunity to be the court clerk but turned it down.
“I learned how to be a good clerk under Marie, who decided after a month after me working here that she would go on vacation,” said Maxwell. “It was the end of the month and I didn’t know anything about bookkeeping but Marie told me I would figure it out.”
Shortly after, Marie moved to Arizona and left 21-year-old Maxwell to fill her shoes. Judge Mathews at the time asked Maxwell to consider the position permanently.
“I thought I’m not ready to be a clerk at 21,” said Maxwell. “I told him I didn’t think I could do it so he appointed his wife to be the clerk.”
A couple of years later the former clerk passed away and Maxwell took on the position. Still going strong, the 64-year-old says she is grateful to have sustained the same career for such a long time.
“My position is appointed by the judge, which means every judge has the option to get rid of me,” said Maxwell. “That says a lot whenever a judge keeps you on.”
Maxwell works at the call of her judge, from dealing with attorneys and trials to bookkeeping, handling up to a million dollars.
“Our judges, they trust me,” said Maxwell. “I’ve been fortunate that the judges have entrusted me to do the right thing.”
Over the course of Maxwell’s career, she has endured trials herself. In 2004 she was diagnosed with cancer. She didn’t let cancer interfere with her dedication to her job.
“After my surgery, I was still taking Chemo,” said Maxwell. “I brought a cot up here and got my work done.”
With the trials, Maxwell also experienced triumph, spearheading a petition that resulted in a courtroom remodel.
Five years ago the District Court did not receive bond money when it was distributed so Maxwell called the Governor’s office.
“Mike Beebe was the governor at the time and I told him that I remembered him back in the day when he would wander our halls representing the citizens of Stuttgart and we need your help,” said Maxwell. “He sent me $10,000.”
With the generous donation from Beebe, Maxwell also received grants that paid for the remodel. “Now we have one of the best courtrooms, I think, in the state of Arkansas,” said Maxwell. “I feel like that is one of my major accomplishments.”
Maxwell has served family generations and states the most rewarding part of her job is being able to help people.
“People think that District Court is if you’ve gotten in trouble or you’re going to jail and it is not always about that,” said Maxwell. “You may just have a ticket and it’s your first time going to court. That doesn’t make you a criminal because you’re not.”
Over the years Maxwell has received thanks from citizens who accepted Maxwell’s help. “When I first started I was dealing with the grandparents who were coming in asking for help or getting tickets,” said Maxwell. “Now I see grandparents, parents and their kids.”
Retirement age may be drawing near but Maxwell doesn’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon, especially after the decision that the Honorable Judge Bueker will run for another term.
“I’ve always been a dedicated city and county employee,” said Vicki. “I hope that the next few years to just keep it up and continue to be of service.”