Five vie for Carroll Clerk of Court position

Staff Report

Gerald R. Goad

Phil Hawks

James A. Alderman

Barbara Fadden

Jay McCraw

Carroll County voters will will choose between five candiates in the race for the post of Carroll County Clerk this year.

With the election less than three weeks away, The Carroll News asked each candidate two questions. The first question was “If elected as Clerk of Court, what goals do you have for Carroll County and how would accomplish them?” The second question was a request for biographical info. Their responses follow:

Gerald R. Goad:

1. I’ve ran my campaign platform this year focusing on three things: educate, enhance and serve. With educate, I want to establish numerous, effective ways to inform citizens on the over 800 responsibilities and services of the office through personal and electronic methods of communication. As a community service, I want to establish partnerships with local attorneys to offer free workshops for citizens on estate planning and other law processes handled by the Clerk’s office. With all office staff, I plan to introduce cross-training and professional development initiatives for all deputy clerks and myself in order to provide better services to all citizens.

By mentioning to enhance is to seek funding to introduce some of the latest technology that several Clerk offices are utilizing today across the state, such as the Officer of the Court Remote Access (OCRA) and the Virginia Judicial E-Filing System (VJEFS). OCRA provides online access for authorized personnel to retrieve and review court documents as they are specifically authorized to review electronically without having to visit the Clerk’s office, as the VJEFS system allows attorneys to electronically file civil actions in circuit court.

One significant responsibility of the Clerk’s office is the proper handling of historic county documents. I plan to work closely with the Carroll County Historical Society, Genealogy Club, and members of law enforcement in making sure the county’s historical documents are kept secure and protected.

To serve is to enforce an open-door policy and bipartisan, collaborative leadership to better serve all citizens, with making sure that all responsibilities and procedures are carried forth in a timely and efficient manner for best customer service. I will also strive to work closely with the Commonwealth of Virginia in making sure all work procedures and expectations are performed per law for clean audits in the future.

2. I was born and raised in Carroll County with my father, Elmon Goad, serving 30 years for the Virginia Department of Transportation and my mother, Karen Goad, currently serving as secretary of Oakland Elementary School. Both sides of my family go back decades of years with my great-great uncle, Dexter Goad, serving as Clerk of Court in the early 1900s. I am a 2004 graduate of Carroll County High School, obtaining my Associate’s Degree in Education from Wytheville Community College.

After finishing WCC, I transferred to Virginia Tech receiving my Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Communication from Virginia Tech. I plan to receive my Master’s of Science degree in Business/Industry Training from Old Dominion University this Fall.

Goad also was part of the second graduating class of the Twin County Leadership Institute held at the Crossroads Institute in Galax, where he learned quality leadership traits in local government. During college, he also served as Carroll County’s first-ever Public Information Specialist. He is currently employed at Wytheville Community College with six years experience in a variety of roles such as academic advising and coordinating all testing, tutoring, and student activity services for the college.

Goad is also active in the community as president of the Oakland Ruritan Club, elder and youth leader of Galax First Christian Church, lay speaker for many area churches, and member of the Galax Camp of Gideons International. I was also appointed in 2014 by the Carroll County Board of Supervisors to serve as a Carroll trustee on the Galax-Carroll Regional Library Board.

B.P. “Phil” Hawks

1. I am running for Clerk of Circuit Court out of a desire to serve the citizens of Carroll County in the capacity of a constitutional officer. I was the first candidate to file for the Republican nomination for Circuit Court Clerk having been asked to consider running due to my work ethic and proficiency, as a Deputy Clerk, in the services I provided to the citizens.

I am the Carroll County nominated Republican Candidate as certified by the primary results of May 16, 2015. As a former Deputy Clerk, I have working knowledge of the duties of the Circuit Court Clerk, and that of his staff. Based on my experience, in the Circuit Court, I am acquainted with many of the policies, procedures and regulations related to operating the Circuit Court for Carroll County according to Virginia state guidelines.

I believe the customer service background I possess would be an asset to the office. I believe that my employment, outside of a governmental position, with the knowledge that an income is based on performance, good customer service, and accountability, would benefit the citizens I am elected to represent. As the next Clerk, knowing there are over 800 listed responsibilities, many opportunities will present themselves during my term. I wish to start my term with an independent audit to verify where the office stands in the way of adjustments required to meet the Virginia Supreme Court standards for accounting and book keeping practices, along with implementation of those recommendations.

I would continue efforts to cross-train the staff, along with the opportunity to implement flow charts, to allow for ease of service. Efficiency in the office will be a priority to better serve the citizens of Carroll County. I understand, as a former Deputy Clerk, the need for compartmentalization for certain services due to the complexity of the Virginia Code and that would not change. However, cross-training and flow charts would allow the staff to serve the citizens with confidence and competence. I will focus on the importance of posting necessary citizen accessible information for database users, and also informing citizens to online services available. While Clerk’s E-Pass and OCRA (Officer of the Court Remote Access) are tools that are available for attorneys, and other officers of the court, I desire to inform citizens to other online services available in relation to Circuit Court services.

I will also implement a service feedback form for the public to utilize to inform my office of documentation that is inaccessible and the type of professional service rendered during their visit. Having experience in the Circuit Court Office, I understand that the staffing situation is in dire need of an increase in personnel. I will petition the Compensation Board to allow for sufficient staff to handle the ever increasing workload that is being processed. According to the numbers presented by the Compensation Board there is a need for an increase in staff based on the volume that is now being processed in Carroll County.

2. Bradley “Phil” Hawks. Former Deputy Clerk of Carroll County Circuit Court with 2.5 years experience; 41-year old husband; father of three. Lives in Woodlawn, VA; raised in Lambsburg; 23 years as a Gospel minister (former pastor; itinerant minister; short-term missionary as Board Chairman for Joshua’s Army Short-Term Missions Organization); 1992 Graduate of Carroll County High School with an advanced studies diploma. Studied Marketing/Retailing at Surry Community College; transferred to Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute to graduate an Associate of Religion/Church Ministries in 1995.

Over 10 years experience in customer service management including customer conflict resolution, supervising personnel, payroll, accounts payable/receivable. While a Deputy Clerk at Carroll Circuit I earned my associates degree in applied science, 2013 (with honors as Class President), an Occupational Therapy Assistant major; Health Technology minor, from Southwest Virginia Community College, in conjunction with Wytheville Community College. Employed at Blue Ridge Home Health Care in Galax, VA.

James A. Alderman, Jr.

1. If elected to the position of Carroll County Circuit Court Clerk my goals are as follows:

A huge goal is to work well with the current staff, and to answer a question I have been asked several times while on the campaign trail, “I do not have any intention of replacing anyone.” Most of the staff in the clerks’ office have been there for sometime and do a great job. I have no intention of disrupting the office or the staff’s lives by getting rid of anyone.

A – Taking care of the public needs should be our primary goal especially, and to see that any funds that are due to the victims of crimes that come through the clerks office are sent out as promptly as possible.

B – To hold myself and the staff accountable for any issues that arise in the clerks’ office by sharing the results of our audits with the public. Since the position is elected by the public it should be held to the standard of sharing any major issues that arise that are a matter of pubic record as allowed by the Code of Virginia. The Code of Virginia has certain sections that deal with the office of Clerk of Court and the office will follow those codes.

C -To review the office methods of operation for a period time then cross train the staff as needed so everyone may function in more than one position, but only after careful review. The best rule I think I can follow is if it isn’t broke, don’t try to fix it.

D – To manage the clerks office in an a fair and orderly manner as prescribed by the standards set forth by the State of Virginia.

2. I have lived and worked in Hillsville and Carroll County all of my life, and the last 28-plus years I have been employed by the Hillsville Police Department. From 1991 until 2013 when I assumed my current position as Captain I served as the town of Hillsville’s first and only investigator. My job has required putting together complex cases for prosecution locally or on several occasions’ prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s office.

I have a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice Administration, Enforcement, and Investigations, along with attending numerous state and federal trainings. I have testified in the Carroll County Circuit Court, and handled many of the criminal documents associated with that court while performing my duties.

I have attempted to serve the community by working to stem the flow of drugs such as methamphetamine in our area, and the prosecution of individuals who abuse children in my jurisdiction.

Barbara A. Fadden

1. I am running as an independent because I feel that the Clerk serves everyone, therefore the Circuit Court Clerk’s office should be a non-partisan office.

I have been a resident of Carroll County for 21 years. I have been married to Russell Fadden for 23 years. We have three beautiful children and have been blessed with three beautiful grandchildren. I love living in a community where family values are still important.

My greatest accomplishment is raising three beautiful children and watching each one graduate from Carroll County High School. My other great accomplishments are receiving my GED, graduating from college with honors and being blessed with a successful career with the Circuit Court.

I earned my GED upon starting the Legal Assisting program at New River Community College in 2004. I served as an intern for the Clerk’s office from May 2005 to June 2005 and was hired as a full time Deputy Clerk in July 2005. I graduated with honors from New River Community College in 2006 with my Associates degree in Legal Assisting while working full time in the Clerk’s office and taking care of my family.

My duties include recording land records, receiving payments, receiving passports and concealed weapons permits and issuing marriage licenses. I am cross-trained to assist with the daily operations of the Clerk’s office. I learned that many tasks are legally sophisticated and highly complex. I also learned that in a court of record, all tasks must be handled with reasonable care, skill and diligence.

In 2009, I became qualified and appointed by the former Clerk to hold a quasi-judicial power over matters of probate and in the qualification of fiduciaries also known as the Probate Clerk. Since this position was held by Jeanette Mabe, the former chief deputy clerk, I also assumed all of her responsibilities without the title.

Each day I learn something new. I love my career and the challenge each new day brings. I love helping others, especially when they are in need and don’t fully understand the processes of the Judicial System. If elected November 3, I will strive to improve productivity and restore fiscal accountability while providing kind and courteous customer service during your visit to the Clerk’s office.

Currently the Clerk’s office is working with a very limited staff. I will fill vacant positions available and seek funding for additional positions to assist with the daily operations of the office. I will develop and implement policies consistent with the procedures set forth by the Supreme Court of Virginia to strengthen internal controls.

I will be accountable to the citizens to perform my duties to ensure fiscal accountability is not questionable. I will ensure that the Deputy Clerks have continued training and I will work to ensure all duties are completed in a timely manner.

To better serve the professional members of the community I will work diligently to expand the information available on the Land Records Remote Access. I will actively seek improvements in technology as it becomes available to the Clerk’s office by the Supreme Court of Virginia. We are currently researching the E-Filing and Case Management programs offered through the Supreme Court. However, budget constraints and cuts limit the ability to expand technology.

We have been working hard to improve the function of the Clerk’s office by organizing work stations and updating the land records management technology. One much needed improvement we have made is we have moved our plat scanning equipment into the office so we have the capability of scanning plats as they are received and we can print copies for customers from 8 ½ x 11 to 18 x 24.

The old plats have also been scanned and can be easily accessed in the deed room and by Remote Access. We are in the process of creating a digital index to aide in the search of old plats.

James W. “Jay” McCraw

1. I am confident that the combination of my education and life experiences will serve me well in performing the duties of the office of Clerk of Court. If elected, I will strive to ensure that everyone needing the services of the Circuit Court Clerk’s office will be afforded the best possible customer service experience.

I will stress courteous and professional interactions by office staff. I will work in conjunction with the Supreme Court of Virginia to make sure that the office staff receive any and all available training in order to do their job to the best of their abilities.

I would also like to explore ways to make the office run more efficiently through cross training the staff so they are able to perform more than one specific job duty. This will enable the office to provide better and more prompt service to the individuals that we serve.

I want to bring together a staff with diverse qualifications, training and experience to this office. I feel it is important to gather feedback from the employees in the office and listen to the general public as to what their needs are in relation to the office. I will work to improve the financial accountability of the office through implementing a system of checks and balances to insure proper recording and accounting of all receipts and disbursements.

I want to ensure that the office is equipped with the latest technology affordable, and approved by the Supreme Court of Virginia, so as to make interfacing with different systems and the sharing of information as efficient as possible. It is also important to provide the public with information about the services that the Clerk’s office provides. I will continually review operations and look for savings, available resources and ways to improve customer service. It is very important to be a careful steward of taxpayer’s money.

2. I am a lifelong resident of Carroll Co, having grown up in Cana. I have an associate degree in agriculture business, a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in educational leadership. My work experience includes being a loan officer for the Farmer’s Home Administration and a teacher at Carroll County Middle School. I have also coached football, basketball, and baseball.

I taught classes in math, career and technology. I also developed a curriculum for a juvenile justice class. For the past 12 years, I also worked in the court system as a part-time magistrate for the 27th Judicial District of the Commonwealth of Virginia, a position I chose to give up in order to seek the office of the Clerk of Court. I am married and have one son and daughter-in-law along with two grandchildren. I am a member of First Baptist Church in Hillsville.

Gerald R. Goad R. Goad

Phil Hawks Hawks

James A. Alderman A. Alderman

Barbara Fadden Fadden

Jay McCraw McCraw

Staff Report

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