William E. St John, who retired in 1979 after 16 years as county clerk, announced Friday that he will seek election to his former post next year.
St John, 65, cited a scathing audit of the clerk's office earlier this year by the County Administrative Office and said he wanted "to help revitalize that department," which has "failed to provide efficient, courteous service" to judges, lawyers and the public.
Although St John spoke of the "excellence" of the clerk's office when he ran it, his term was marked by feuds with judges that culminated in an unsuccessful attempt by the judges to take over his office.
St John said the current clerk, Gary Granville, "has no experience" in the job. St John said he has "very strong backing" but declined to identify any supporters.
Granville, who was appointed by the county Board of Supervisors in September and who plans to run for election next year, likened St John's attempt to win back his former job "to the captain of the Titanic returning to the bridge."
Granville said St John's tenure was marked by "shambles and misfortune."
After St John retired to open a travel business, the supervisors combined the clerk's job with the recorder's position. But after the audit this year, the supervisors reversed themselves and made the posts separate again.
Marshall Norris, a deputy clerk who has run unsuccessfully for clerk and for sheriff, has also said he will run for county clerk, which pays $57,012 a year. The candidates will face each other in the June 3 primary.