Editor’s note: This is one in a series of question and answer articles about local candidates running for office. The Northern Virginia Daily asked candidates three questions. The unedited responses are below.
The seat for Warren County Circuit Court clerk is open in a special election as former Clerk Darryl Funk vacated his seat after being named a juvenile and domestic relations court judge. Angie Moore is running for the seat against Janice Shanks and Stephen Jerome
How does your job experience make you the best-fit candidate for the job?
I am uniquely qualified for the position of Clerk because of my experience, training, and leadership skills. In 2007, I started as a Deputy Clerk in the Warren County Circuit Court. During my tenure I had the pleasure of being trained and mentored by former Clerk, Jennifer Sims and her dedicated staff who had a combined experience of 125 years. Under recently elevated Judge Daryl Funk, I was promoted to Senior Deputy Clerk (SDC) and continued to serve in the esteemed capacity of being the representative for the Clerk’s office inside the courtroom. There I assisted the Circuit Court Judge by calling cases from the docket, administering oaths, reading indictments, jury procedure, and maintaining paper and electronic records. As SDC, I had subject matter expertise of daily functions including recording land records, issuing marriage licenses, issuing concealed weapon permits, processing civil and criminal cases, and disbursement of restitution. I actively participated in the hiring process through interview panels and providing input on candidates. I was instrumental in training employees and maintained office operations during the absence of the Clerk. I received various trainings in order to perform my duties to include probate training from the Supreme Court of Virginia.
For the last year, I have been employed as a Deputy Clerk with the Frederick County/Winchester General District Court under the expert leadership of Debra Bull. Working as a Deputy Clerk in two jurisdictions at two different court levels has been extremely beneficial. Not only has it provided me with a well-rounded understanding of the overall court process, but also allowed me to identify processes that could translate to improved efficiencies in the office.
In addition to my vast job knowledge and familiarity with the Clerk’s office, I have excellent leadership and management skills and continue to make development in these areas a priority. I have been blessed in my career to work with knowledgeable leaders and they have taught me that leadership is something to be taken seriously. Strong, but fair leadership is needed in our government offices, which is why I am the best-fit candidate.
What services does the clerk’s office provide and how do you plan to improve those services?
The clerk’s office is a multifaceted office that handles a diverse clientele, and the Virginia Code identifies over 800 responsibilities for this office. Further details can be found at www.courts.state.va.us. Services can be broken into three main categories: record keeping, customer service, and public safety.
The clerk’s office acts as the custodian of records and ensures that all records, both paper and electronic, are properly stored, maintained, and readily available when requested. Examples of records maintained by the clerk’s office includes - documents relating to both criminal and civil cases, land records, judgments, marriage licenses, voter ballots, and wills and trusts. Proper record keeping cannot be stressed enough. Not only does it allow for current clients, whether that be the general public, attorneys, law enforcement, or businesses, to assess vital documents needed for their immediate use. The clerk’s office has a responsibility to preserve records for their historical significance.
Customer service plays a large and important role in the clerk’s office. Some key examples of this are - the recording of land records, handling probate matters, the issuance of marriage licenses, matters relating to name changes, adoptions, divorces and annulments, issuance of concealed weapon permits, restoration of gun rights, restoration of driving privileges, fictitious name recording, collection of fees and taxes, notary public, issuance of subpoenas for criminal and civil cases, and maintenance of the law library.
The clerk’s office makes a vital contribution in ensuring public safety. In addition to preparing criminal orders, the clerk’s office is responsible for providing criminal information related to convictions and sentences to the Department of Corrections and local jails. It also deals with matters relating to civil commitments of sexual violent predators, and the sex offender registry.
My plans for improvement involve an evaluation to identify areas where improvements are needed and will be most beneficial. A key component will be to garner input from employees as well as from those who use the clerk’s office. I will seek out technological advancements and network with other offices to identify best practices that will enhance job performances and create efficiencies.
If elected, what goals do you hope to accomplish?
My main goal is to provide strong leadership and run an office that excels in all areas of its responsibilities. I believe this begins and ends with customer service. The Office has a responsibility to be courteous, responsive, and provide an overall pleasant experience. This starts at the leadership level and must be stressed to staff.
A second goal is have the best trained staff possible. I believe it’s a disservice both to the employee as well as to customers if staff does not have the training they need to perform their duties. I plan to use my vast experience as deputy clerk to facilitate a training program that will foster the skill set of each employee, putting them in place to be successful. Ideally, I would network with other clerk’s offices and proactively seek out training opportunities to formulate a well-rounded work force with employees able to function in all areas of the job. Establishing a cross-training program would ensure staff absence doesn’t stem productivity and maintains the availability of all essential services.
Applying for grants through the Library of Virginia to ensure history is preserved would be a continuing effort. Working in conjunction with local agencies such as the Historical society, title companies and real estate companies to educate the public through a series of workshops in genealogical research is also an explorable goal. Reinstating the office as a passport acceptance agency is also a possibility. Installation of a suggestion box that would aid in public relations and create an office that would better serve its community is also attainable.
At the end of the day, my goal is to be an active, involved leader at the Warren County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office who establishes a strong working relationship with the legal community and general public. I want to foster a healthy work environment and employ a well trained staff that promotes customer service.