Robinson, Fulton court clerk, to retire

The long-serving Fulton County clerk of Superior and Magistrate courts is retiring at the end of June.

Cathelene “Tina” Robinson, elected as Superior Court clerk 16 years ago, announced her retirement Thursday in a letter to Gov. Brian Kemp, according to a news release from her office.

In it she named Ché Alexander as her successor. Alexander has served as chief deputy clerk, but Robinson’s announcement describes her as “Advisor to the Clerk.” Since Robinson was last elected to a four-year term in 2020, Alexander’s appointed term will end Dec. 31, 2024.

“I love Fulton County and I have dedicated much of my life to serving its wonderful citizens, but it is now time that I focus on other endeavors,” Robinson said in the announcement. “Ms. Alexander steps easily into this role because she has a track record of proven leadership on various levels at Fulton County and beyond. She is respected by county leaders as well as justice partners and I am extremely confident in my decision — as I believe her experience and drive will propel this office to new heights in terms of technology and operations, and that is what citizens deserve. Ché was built for this role.”

Robinson’s announced retirement comes two weeks after a long-smoldering dispute between her and Chief Magistrate Judge Cassandra Kirk erupted at a Fulton County Commission meeting. While it has been described as a case of clashing personalities, the fundamental argument is over staffing.

Robinson was elected as Superior Court clerk, but has also served as Magistrate Court clerk since 2016, two years after that court’s creation. Magistrate judges have said not enough of the clerk’s 140 or so staff members were allocated to them to handle their case loads.

Kirk sued Robinson in 2019 to compel her to perform “mandatory legal duties,” but dropped that suit less than a year later. In an unprecedented move, all 10 of the Fulton County Magistrate Court judges recently signed a letter saying they have “lost confidence” in Robinson.

Robinson did not address that dispute in her retirement announcement, but in mid-March she told Fulton commissioners she had been “as gracious as I can,” but said Kirk would not talk to her.

At that March 15 meeting, commissioners debated a resolution sponsored by Chairman Robb Pitts urging the consolidation of clerk functions — so Robinson’s office would serve not only Superior Court and Magistrate Court but also State Court. Commissioners voted 5-1 to postpone that decision until their April 12 meeting, with Commissioner Marvin Arrington Jr. opposed and Pitts abstaining.

The news release says Alexander will be responsible for “efficiently processing and safeguarding all of Fulton County’s criminal, civil, and real estate records (to name a few), as well as administering the Board of Equalization for the state’s largest county. Additionally, Alexander will provide support to members of the Fulton County judicial bench and other justice partners as needed.”

Alexander is an Atlanta native who holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s in public administration from Georgia State University, and previously owned a consulting firm that focused on improving government efficiency through technology, according to the news release.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported on the status of a proposal to consolidate clerk functions. A vote on the resolution was postponed.