Courthouse races in Carroll Sun endorsements: For GOP, Sealing best for register of wills and Shipley for clerk of the Circuit Court.

August 24, 1998

ELECTION RACES for courthouse offices are often low on the political horizon, despite their important jobs of maintaining and administering vital legal documents.

The clerk of the circuit court keeps land and legal case records and handles marriage licenses.

The register of wills administers estate records and wills and advises judges of the Orphan's Court on probate cases.

In five terms, Larry W. Shipley has become synonymous with the office of circuit court clerk in Carroll County. He is intent on gaining a sixth term as the Republican nominee. He has ably overseen the switch from handwritten records to computerized data, with a solid reputation for public service. Records from 1994 are on computer; his priority is to scan previous years' documents into the computer data base.

Joseph F. Burns Jr., a Winfield insurance claims adjuster, is running against him in the Republican primary. Mr. Burns pledges to make the office more customer friendly, to reduce paperwork and to streamline common office procedures. That would be hard, given the current level of service. Mr. Shipley, once again, deserves the Republican nomination.

There is no Democratic candidate for the position.

Four Republicans are running for register of wills. The winner will face John Lockard Barnes, the unopposed Democratic candidate, in the general election on Nov. 3.

Nancy L. Airing has held the job for 3 1/2 years, appointed to the position on the death in 1995 of Reese L. Starner, who had just begun his eighth term. She has worked in the office for 20 years and was named chief deputy by him in 1987.

Francis X. Walsh, a Westminster lawyer, has run for various offices in the past 16 years. He stresses the value of his law background in handling matters of estate law.

Ryan M. Warner, a restaurant manager from Manchester has been an officer in the Carroll County Republican Club and a community volunteer. He strongly supports elimination of the state family inheritance tax. (Mr. Walsh proposes lowering the rate of that tax.)

Donald B. Sealing II was chief deputy clerk in Mr. Shipley's office for 10 years. He lost to the legendary Mr. Starner four years ago. He favors modernizing the office and computerizing records for greater administrative efficiency.

We think his quarter-century of court experience and ideas to improve recordkeeping service would be valuable, and we endorse him for the Republican nomination.

In the Republican primary election, The Sun endorses Donald B. Sealing for register of wills and Larry W. Shipley for clerk of the circuit court.

Pub Date: 8/24/98

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