While the official filing for the 2014 primary is months away, two elected officials and the incumbent have already taken action by filing letters of intent for Lincoln County’s clerk of court position.
Candy Burgin, chairwoman for the Lincoln County Schools Board of Education, filed first on May 21. Incumbent Fred Hatley filed May 30 and Lincoln County Board of Commissioners Chairman Alex Patton filed Oct. 11.
The clerk of court serves a four-year term and handles all clerical and records duties for both the superior and district courts.
In North Carolina, this role also has several judicial functions, including handling the probate of wills as well as the administration of estates of decedents, incompetents and minors. The clerk is also responsible for hearing special proceedings such as adoptions, incompetency determinations and land partitioning.
Patton said, in a press release, that his decision to run for Clerk of Court stemmed from his desire to serve Lincoln County residents on a full time basis. He believes his time spent managing Harris Teeter and serving as a county commissioner will allow him to bring a different skill set to the office.
“Things happen fast, and decisions must be made instantly [in the supermarket industry],” said Patton. “Solving customer issues immediately is a way of life in that business.”
In addition to his managerial work, he has played an active role in the community, serving on the Department of Social Services Board, the CMC-Lincoln Advisory Board and chairing the Emergency Services Committee.
“I am a lifelong resident of this county and deeply care about what the future holds,” said Patton.
Burgin said community members encouraged her to consider the position for the past year and a half. After much thought and prayer, she agreed.
“I decided this was an excellent opportunity to use my skills and attributes for the citizens of Lincoln County,” said Burgin. “I really enjoy helping people, and through this position, I can best serve the citizens.”
Burgin currently works in Human Resources and Administration at the North Carolina Department of Transportation. She is also the Chair of the Lincoln County Board of Education as well as the City of Lincolnton Board of Adjustments. Burgin’s current term with the school board expires in December 2014.
“I believe the office of the Clerk of Court belongs to the people, and customer service is a top priority for everyone who works in the office,” said Burgin. “Not only will I be available to anyone in need of assistance, I will work to ensure that more employees are cross-trained so that whenever a citizen visits the office, a competent, courteous and trained staff member is available to assist them.”
She also plans to ensure staffers promptly answer their phones and not rely on voice mail, which is often full, further restricting the public’s access to the office.
“If I am elected and someone calls, their call will be answered by a person, not by an answering machine that states that the mailbox is full,” said Burgin.