Everybody’s personal records – marriage licenses, divorce actions, adoptions, deeds, mortgages, jury summonses, and more – are the responsibility of the Clerk of the Circuit Court in Virginia’s counties and cities.
In fact, said Pam Melampy, an independent candidate for Clerk of the Charlottesville Circuit Court, the Clerk is “responsible for 800 different duties” prescribed by the Code of Virginia.
Melampy spoke to the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner outside of a Jefferson Area Tea Party rally in McGuffey Park, where she had been standing to the side, quietly listening to speeches by members of the activist group.
She touts her three decades of experience as an employee of the clerks’ offices in the General District Court in Charlottesville and the Albemarle County Circuit Court.
“Working in the Clerk’s office is something that I’ve always done, my entire life,” she said.
Since 1981, she explained, she has “worked in every phase of different areas of the office and it’s all I’ve ever done. I like waiting on the public, I like helping people, and I feel like I know the office and what goes on. I would not be thrown in there and not know what to do.”
Melampy will be one of two candidates for Clerk on the general election ballot on November 8. Her opponent is Llezelle A. Dugger, who defeated 30-year incumbent Paul Garrett in the Charlottesville Democratic party’s firehouse primary in August. (Melampy placed third in that contest before filing papers to run as an independent.)
Her platform includes improving customer service in the Clerk’s office, emphasizing that all citizens will be treated with equal courtesy. “I’m not going to treat you any different because you’re not an attorney [or] you’re not a police officer,” she said. “I believe in giving fair treatment to everyone.”
She wants to assure customers that if a citizen travels to the Clerk’s office to retrieve or file a document, he will not be obstructed because the official who deals with specific records is not present.
Suppose, she said, that “I’m the only one there who can do wills. If I’m on vacation, they’re going to tell you [that] you need to come back. That’s not acceptable and it shouldn’t be. You should be able to get help when you need it.”
Melampy’s solution to this problem is “cross-training employees that you can get help when you come down there.”
New web site
She also wants to create a web site for the Clerk’s office with information for citizens about the services the office provides and what is required for filing documents and doing business with the Clerk of the Circuit Court.
In addition to basic customer service matters, Melampy said she will also set aside 10 percent of her annual salary and disburse it in donations to the Hospice House, the SPCA, and the Boys & Girls club of Charlottesville.
“I will do that on a monthly basis,” she pledged. “Every time I get paid, those three organizations will get ten percent of my paycheck.”
Asked why voters should cast their ballots for her on Election Day, Melampy replied:
“I’ve always worked in the Circuit Court or the General District court. I know cases. I know how they start. I know where they finish. And I know, when you come in to file a will, I’ll going to be able to help you. I know where fictitious firm names go. I know where deeds go, mortgages, marriage licenses. I know all these things because I’ve done those over the past 22 years. I have worked in the clerk’s office and I have the experience that it’s going to pay off. You’re not going to have to train me.”
If a citizen comes into the office with a request, she explained, she will not have to “ask one of my deputies what I need to do, because I don’t know [it]. I’m going to know what to do.”
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