Chancery Clerk

Message From Melinda

Since 2016, I've had the greatest privilege of representing the people of Pearl River County as your Chancery Clerk and running this office with you in mind. I've always had the belief that government exists to serve people. My duty has been to implement best practices, upgrade technology, and online services, and invest in a team of deputy clerks who are cross-trained and ready to serve you in both the Poplarville and Picayune offices. We work for you, and we do not forget it.

While the Chancery Clerk's office truly is a central "hub" of county government, it is also unique in Mississippi in that it is a fee-based office that operates somewhat like a business. While the county funds the payrolls of all other offices, I am the only elected official required by law to pay for my own staff's salary packages through state-mandated fees collected. The county is strictly forbidden from paying for my payroll. If you come to record a deed, get a copy of a divorce decree, pay child support, or open a court case, the state has a fee attached to each duty to help fund the operation of this office.

With that said, annually, after I've paid for most office operating expenses, including upgrades to technology, digitizing records for online access, and paying for my staff's salaries, I turn over any unused monies to the county. Since I work for you, the citizen, I'm happy to report over the last seven years, we've given more than $1.5 million to the county treasury to help stretch our tax dollars.

Oftentimes people walking through our doors are navigating some of the most challenging times in their lives. Civil commitments due to acute mental crises and substance addictions are truly some of the most heart-wrenching cases that my staff and I handle. From divorce and custody battles to the loss of loved ones requiring the opening of probate matters in court, a caring and compassionate staff is not just an added bonus in serving citizens, in my view, it is imperative.

Our commitment to you is unchanged. We will always seek ways to use your tax dollars in the wisest fashion to deliver the best service to you. Please stop by any time, or call if we can help you.

In service to you,
Melinda Bowman

Responsibilities and Duties

The Chancery Clerk occupies one of the more diverse offices in all of Mississippi government.  The various duties given to the Chancery Clerk by statute cover a wide range of essential functions:

  • As the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, she is responsible for recording the official minutes and making those records available for public inspection either on the county website or in books in the office. 
  • As Treasurer, the Clerk's staff prepares the claims docket for all departments of the County, and after Board approval, writes and signs checks for payments.
  • As public recorder and keeper of the records, the Clerk handles the recording and storage of numerous types of documents and maintains various indexes which aid people in researching these records. The primary records are deeds and mortgages relating to real property, but the Clerk also records construction and condominium liens, federal tax liens, lis pendens (notices of pending lawsuits), and military discharges (DD214s).
  • The Clerk oversees the storage and authorized disposal of older land rolls, tax receipts, and many other County records after their active use lifespan.
  • The Chancery Clerk has been engaging in a scanning project to digitally upload all of the county's land deeds as far back as the foundation of Pearl River County in 1890.  That project was completed and uploaded into the searchable computer database in late 2018. 
  • As Clerk of the Chancery Court, her court department manages a multitude of tasks through the Mississippi Electronic Courts (MEC) in such areas as matters of estates, guardianships, conservatorships, divorce, child custody, adoption, property disputes, mental and drug commitments, and other matters of equity.