New domestic relations master sworn in

May 04, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- The engraved nameplate already was in place -- "G. Clair Baker Jr."

The only thing left was for Clair Baker to be sworn in as Washington County's next domestic relations master.

Just after 8:15 a.m. Monday, Baker became official, with about an hour to spare before his first case.

The domestic relations master hears cases about divorce, custody, visitation, child support and alimony.

The master makes recommendations to a judge, who can agree or disagree.

Baker, a longtime local attorney, takes over for Daniel Patrick Dwyer, who gave up the position after he was picked to be a circuit judge.

Dwyer, who had been domestic relations master since 1996, was sworn in a month ago as a circuit judge.

Monday, a small group watched Washington County Circuit Court Clerk Dennis J. Weaver administered an oath to Baker.

Baker's wife, Linda, was there, along with his mother, Joann Baker.


The gallery also included friends Joe and Lois Yeakel; Vicki Culler, who will be Baker's secretary; Eunice Plank, a court administrator; Tressa Clifford, a court reporter; and Washington County Circuit Judge John H. McDowell, the local administrative judge.

Baker said his Hagerstown law practice, where he has worked since 1983, focused on real estate and business.

"It offers a change of career, in effect," Baker said of his new position. "This offers an opportunity of service."

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