My family and I moved to St. Joseph from Worthington, Minnesota in 1977, when my Dad was transferred here with Armour and Company. I am the daughter of Joan and Gary Baack and the youngest of six children, having four brothers and a sister. We all attended St. Francis Xavier Grade School and are members of St. Francis Church. I graduated from Bishop LeBlond in 1994 and attended Missouri Western State University, graduating in 1998 with a B.S. in Exercise Physiology. While in school, I enjoyed playing sports, including volleyball and basketball. As an alum, I support Bishop LeBlond and MWSU in any way I can and hope these wonderful schools stay as successful as they were when I attended them.
John Garvey and I were married in 2004. He is a lifelong resident of St. Joseph. He went to grade school at Cathedral and graduated from Bishop LeBlond in 1986. He graduated from the University of Missouri in 1990. We have two daughters, Emma and Sarah, who now attend St. Francis Xavier Grade School and we are also members of St. Francis Parish. They amaze us every day and we are truly blessed to have them in our lives.
I am an active and very proud board member of the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Greater St. Joseph. I’m also a Sustainer with the Junior League of St. Joseph. Both of these groups do wonderful things for the children of our community. I love volunteering my time, especially here locally, to help these programs thrive. I have also been a part of the United Way’s Allocations Process. Being a part of this program has been a great way to see how local community dollars support the partner agencies that the United Way supports. I am also a 2011 graduate of the United Way’s Leadership St. Joseph Program.
I started working for the Clerk’s Office in August of 2000 as one of Pat Conway’s Deputy Clerks. I was promoted to Assistant Chief Deputy Clerk in 2005. In November of 2010 I was elected as Buchanan County Clerk. Since my swearing in to office in January of 2011, my dedicated staff and I have accomplished many goals and changes to make the Clerk’s Office more efficient.
Here are a few of the accomplishments:
•Removed all schools as polling locations
•Decreased the number of polling locations from 35 to 26
•Introduced electronic poll books to the county, known as the “Poll Pads”
•Restructured the Absentee Voting Process to increase efficiency
•After the 2010 census, my staff reviewed every single voter’s district. It was a very tedious process, but a very valuable one, as many voters were in the incorrect district
•Reduced the cost of each election by thousands of dollars
•Decreased spending in the office. For example, we removed the Kard Veyor that held all voter registration cards, which cost $1,800 a year.
•The tax levy process, which our office is required to set annually, has been simplified and we are now utilizing the software that the county paid several thousands of dollars for in 2008. It had never been used to its fullest potential until 2011
•The office is efficiently run with five people, including myself. In 2008 there were ten full-time employees, plus part time help.
Our staff uses team effort and I couldn’t ask for a more qualified and hard working team. I bring to the County Clerk’s Office a strong work ethic, skills, attention to detail, and a spirit of service. My first term as County Clerk has been a humbling experience. I truly love my job and I want to continue to serve the people of Buchanan County by improving the election process even MORE, finding MORE ways to save YOUR tax dollars and represent you in the best possible way.
~ Mary Baack-Garvey
Buchanan County Clerk/ Election Authority