The voters of the county elect the clerk of superior court for a four-year term. Clerks are paid by the state, with their salaries scaled in accordance with the population of their counties. As one would expect, the clerk is responsible for all clerical and record-keeping functions of the superior court and district court. However, the clerk also has numerous judicial functions: The clerk is judge of probate - that is, the clerk handles the probate of wills (proceedings to determine if a paper writing is a valid will) and the administration of estates of decedents, minors and incompetents. The clerk also hears a variety of special proceedings such as adoptions, incompetency determinations and partitions of land and is empowered to issue arrest and search warrants and to exercise the same powers as a magistrate with respect to taking pleas of guilty to minor littering, traffic, wildlife, boating, marine fisheries, alcoholic beverage, state park recreation and worthless-check offenses.
Each clerk has a number of assistants and deputies. The number of assistants and deputies that each clerk may employ varies from county to county depending on the volume of business. Assistant and deputy clerks are paid on a salary schedule fixed by the Administrative Office of the Courts based on education and years of service in the clerk's office; the maximum and minimum salaries within that scale are fixed by the General Assembly.