Carroll courthouse elections Sun endorsements: Airing for register of wills, and Utz, Reisig and Lippy for Orphans' Court.

October 08, 1998

NANCY L. AIRING has served nearly a full term as register of wills. She was named in early 1995 to fill the vacancy created by the death of Reese Starner, who was elected eight times to the office. Ms. Airing had been chief deputy since 1987, and worked in the office since 1978.

While there is natural concern that interim appointees may be automatically confirmed by voters regardless of performance, this is not the case with the incumbent. She is qualified by experience and administrative capability to run the office, which files wills of deceased persons, collects related taxes and advises the Orphans' Court judges.

Republican Airing has installed the first computers in the office, improving public access to records. More staff have also improved public service. Joining other Carroll agencies on the county Internet Web page, and placing the records online, is the next step.

Her Democratic opponent, John Lockard Barnes, lost a 1994 bid for election as a judge of the Orphans' Court. He is an accountant who worked as investigator for the U.S. Treasury Department for many years. Mr. Barnes wants to educate the public on minimizing estate costs, a worthwhile goal.

But we prefer Ms. Airing for her record and knowledge of the office.

Questions remain as to whether this office, and the Orphans' Court judges, should be chosen by partisan election. Voters often have limited knowledge of or contact with the office. Also, partisan races give the false impression that these are jobs with political implications. For the foreseeable future, however, they remain on the ballot.

Of four candidates running for three positions on the Orphans' Court, we favor Democrat Elmer C. Lippy Jr. and Republicans Dorothy V. Utz and Herbert J. Reisig.

Ms. Utz, the chief judge, was in 1994 the first woman elected to the job in Carroll, and received the highest vote total. Mr. Reisig, a former FBI agent with a law degree, has a valuable background for the job. Mr. Lippy is a former county commissioner and mayor of Manchester. All have college degrees, but the part-time job does not require a law degree.

There is no contest for clerk of the circuit court. Republican Larry W. Shipley has no opposition in his bid for a sixth term.

Tomorrow: Sheriff, state's attorney

Pub Date: 10/08/98

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