WHENEVER Baltimore residents need a business or marriage license, buy or sell real estate or are involved in an equity, civil or criminal case, the Circuit Court clerk's office keeps a record. The volume of paperwork is huge: the office employs some 200 people and has a budget of more than $10 million.
Since the August 1997 death of Saundra Banks, who was in the post for 14 years, the clerk's office has foundered.
Recordkeeping has become sloppy, morale is bad and a number of disgusted veteran employees have taken jobs elsewhere. The court clerk's office needs energy and determined leadership. Ineffective work methods must be overhauled, including an outdated computer system.
Four of the nine Democratic candidates -- William Allen, Gwendolyn B. Jones, Charles W. Mackey Jr. and Pinkney McCready -- are veteran court system employees. They have much invested in the status quo and are unlikely to provide fresh ideas so badly needed.
The five outsiders are a mixed bag. Pamela Carter-Goodwin is a long-time aide to East Baltimore machine politicians. Frank M. Conaway is a former state delegate. Deborah English is a deputy sheriff. Arthur W. Murphy is a seasoned political consultant and computer expert. Regretfully, he got himself entangled in a personal tax-lien situation.
Our support goes to William Norris Burgee, 45, who started his career as an assistant title examiner for the city, then moved to the private sector. He is a vice president of Metropolitan Title Guarantee Corp. and co-chairman of the business revitalization committee of the Greenmount Corridor Revitalization Task Force. Burgee has the qualities necessary to make the Circuit Court clerk's office work more efficiently.
John Anderson, who has been the sheriff for nine years, deserves renomination, as does Mary W. Conaway for register of wills.
;/ Tomorrow: Baltimore County courthouse races
Baltimore City courthouse races
Clerk of Circuit Court: Democrats are William Allen, William Norris Burgee, Pamela Carter-Goodwin, Frank M. Conaway, Deborah English, Gwendolyn B. Jones, Charles W. Mackey Jr., Pinkney McCready and Arthur W. Murphy. No Republican candidates. Salary: $64,000. Term: four years.
State's attorney: Democrat Patricia Coats Jessamy is unopposed. Salary: $102,850; Term: four years
Register of wills: Democrats are Mary W. Conaway and L. Ramona Moore. Salary: $64,000; Term: four years
Sheriff: Democrats are John W. Anderson, Beatrice M. Brown and Shelton J. Stewart. No Republican candidates. Salary: $56,000; Term: four years
Orphans' court: Democrats Joyce M. Baylor-Thompson, Lewyn Scott Garrett and Howard I. Golden are unopposed for three seats. Salary: $45,000; Term: four years.
Data: 1994 primary turnout: 33% of registered voters.
Pub Date: 9/08/98