BLACKFOOT – Pam Eckhardt really loves her job. That’s a good thing since she’s the Bingham County clerk.
She supervises all 32 clerk positions for the county’s courts, indigent services, elections, commissioners, the recorder’s office and the auditor’s office. There’s not much that Eckhardt doesn’t run, like the sheriff’s department, the motor vehicles office, or the assessor’s office.
The county clerk is an elected official, and Eckhardt is in the first year of her second term. She currently plans to run for a third term. “But who knows,” Eckhardt said, “a lot can change in three years.”
“There’s nothing I don’t like about the job,” she remarked. “I wake up every morning and look forward to coming into work.”
Eckhardt is the daughter of a local potato and wheat farmer. She’s the fourth generation of her family to live in the area. Her great-grandparents on both sides lived in either Groveland or Riverside.
She attended Moreland Elementary School and Snake River High School, graduating in 1977. Then she went to BYU, where she got a degree in clothing and textiles with an emphasis on historical research.
After that, Eckhardt worked in the bridal industry for three years before she opened her own sewing business, which she ran for two decades.
In 2006, she and her family sold their house and moved to New Zealand, where her husband had a teaching contract. At the same time, she worked at a local tourist information center.
It was 2008 when they came home to Idaho, returning just when the housing crisis and recession were starting.
“We had no jobs, no home, no insurance, and still had two children living with us,” Eckhardt explained. “It was a very stressful time.”
Eckhardt spotted a job opening at the county courthouse for a court records archivist.
“I saw the position, and given the historical research emphasis of my degree and my customer service experience, I thought that I could do that.” She was right since she applied and landed the job.
She stayed in that post for two years before moving into one of the court clerk positions. Then Sara Staub retired as county clerk in 2014.
“I decided to run for the position and was elected,” Eckhardt commented. “I began my first term in 2015. … I love working with the public and making our community a positive place to live.”
“There’s something new every day,” she explained. Just last Friday, Eckhardt was busy making a copy of a hand-written 100-year-old divorce decree to fulfill a genealogical research request. “I really appreciate being the protector of the historical records and documents of the county, which date back to 1885.”
As county clerk, Eckhardt has a seat on the board of the Bingham County Historical Society. She also plays the violin in the Firth Community Orchestra and is active at her church.
Eckhardt currently lives in Blackfoot with her husband Gary, not too far from Blackfoot High School. They have two daughters, one son, and six grandchildren. She still takes on some sewing jobs when she has time, though often her job doesn’t allow for that. “I work a lot of late nights,” she admitted. “This job can be all consuming at times. I love what I do but it doesn’t leave me with a lot of spare time.”