Berkeley Co. clerk/circuit clerk race

February 11, 1998|By AMY WALLAUER

Berkeley Co. clerk/circuit clerk race

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Four people have announced their candidacy for Berkeley County Circuit Clerk, including Virginia M. Sine, who has held the position since 1992.

Republicans Penny Renae Parsons, of Glengary, W.Va., and Donald Royce Shoemaker, of Kearneysville, W.Va., filed last week.

Parsons, 28, a legal assistant with the law firm of McCune, Bittorf and Layva, said she's worked closely with the circuit clerk's office over the past several years and has ideas for streamlining the clerk's duties.

"One issue that did come up is the possibility of chief deputy clerk, who would assume some of the responsibilities with personnel issues and basically the daily maintenance of the office, whether it be dealing with the public sector, lawyers offices or any complaints," Parsons said.


The 1987 graduate of Martinsburg High School said a second-in-command would alleviate some of the late hours and stress associated with the job, while opening up opportunities to do more.

Shoemaker also has ideas for making the office more efficient.

"I think I could bring in some new perspective," Shoemaker said. "I'm not saying the office is not run correctly, but with the age of technology we can make the computer do more for us."

Shoemaker, 49, an accountant, said now is the time for a career change.

"It's really not that much of a change. With my experience and background, I could run that office," Shoemaker said. "I wanted to do this young enough so I can serve three or four terms."

Legal secretary Nancy P. Burkhart, 39, of Martinsburg, announced her candidacy earlier this month.

The circuit clerk's office is responsible for maintaining civil, criminal and other court records. It also handles naturalization records, passports, ballot preparation and candidate filings.

Berkeley County Clerk

In another countywide race, a Martinsburg woman is hoping to unseat Berkeley County Clerk John W. Small Jr. in the May 12 primary election.

Patricia A. Washington, 43, a computer aide for Berkeley County schools, filed for the post last week.

"I have a lot of training and education in that area," Washington said. "Being able to go in that office quite frequently, I see there's a need to have the office updated and computerized so you have access to the information you want to get."

The Berkeley County Commission approved funding for computers in January for the county and Circuit Court offices.

"If we don't keep updating everything, automating it, we're going to fall behind," Washington said.

Washington said everyone is doing a fine job in that office, but there's always room for improvement.

Republican Robert Preston Ziegler, 30, is also vying for the county clerk position in his first run for public office. Ziegler is a 1986 graduate of Hedgesville High School and a truck driver with Bonded Carriers, of Martinsburg.

Small has been the county clerk since he was appointed to the post in 1971, after the death of E.C. Dunham. Prior to assuming his current position, Small was the chief deputy clerk for 15 years.

The county clerk is the recorder of deeds: Births, deaths, marriages, hunting and fishing licenses and voter registration. The clerk is also the chief financial officer for the county.

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