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The race is on for Macon clerk of court

The clerk of court is a humble albeit crucial office, an elected position filled by someone willing to ensure the county courthouse runs smoothly and without logistical issues. This year, Macon County Clerk Victor Perry will retire, meaning a new person will be tasked with bringing the office into a new age of technology.

The candidate who wins the May 17 GOP primary will square off against Democrat Dinah Roper Mashburn in November’s General Election. The Republicans running for Clerk are Justin Stamey, Shawna Thun Lamb and Mike Trammel. While Trammel didn’t respond to requests for an interview, The Smoky Mountain News spoke with Stamey and Lamb. Here’s what they had to say.

Justin Stammy

Stamey has served as a magistrate for almost a decade. In fact, when he was sworn in at 23 years old right after graduating from UNC Charlotte, he was the youngest magistrate in the state.

Stamey said that as a magistrate, he’s heard and adjudicated hundreds of civil small claims cases, which requires analyzing arguments and applying the law. He added that he feels ready to step up to a new role, and he hopes that ambition can serve as an example for others.

“Our youth definitely needs to step up,” he said.

Stamey noted that his main objective as clerk of court would be “provide the citizens with a more effective and efficient judiciary.”

Stamey said he feels ready to do that and discussed his college education, as well as certifications earned in his professional life, seven of which he said apply to the clerk of superior court.

“I’m in a unique position to be ready on day one,” he said.

Whoever steps into the role will have to do away with the paper filing system and establish the digital Odyssey Case Management System. Stamey believes he’s been proactive in staying up to date with new technologies.

“This will be a benefit to all citizens once we familiarize ourselves with it,” he said. “Bringing the office into the 21st century is something I want to be a part of.”

Often, when someone is elected to take charge of an office for the first time, they’ll shuffle personnel to get a staff they think they can work best with. However, Stamey said if the employees of that office want to stay on board, they can.

In addition, he said he’d like to make “cross-training” opportunities available across the board.

“I don’t plan on coming in there and cleaning house,” he said. “I know all the ladies in that office and respect all of them.”

Shawna Thun Lamb

Lamb brings to the table a different set of experience and skills than Stamey. For the last 21 years, she’s worked in the clerk’s office and currently is an assistant clerk with a variety of duties, from handling criminal matters to divorces to domestic violence cases.

In addition, Lamb said she’s been able to take online classes to get up to speed on things she may be less familiar with, and that Perry has let her sit in on things like guardianship hearings she wants to learn more about.

“I don’t think anybody’s going to be 100% starting, but I have the knowledge and skills and can work the computer systems,” she said. “And I know all the attorneys and can work with everyone.”

Lamb also pointed out that she has good relationships with her fellow assistant and deputy clerks.

“They’re like family,” she said. “I spend more time than them than I do with my family sometimes.”

When asked what immediate issues might be facing the next clerk of court, Lamb pointed out that they are just about out of storage and that getting the systems ready for e-filing will be a tall, yet necessary, task.

In addition, Lamb said she wants to see a fresh emphasis placed on positive interactions with customers and other members of the public.

“I think we should open our doors back up and focus more on customer service,” she said. “Maybe get another computer system in the office for if someone can’t get that stuff at home, so they can come into our office and get it.”

Lamb wanted people to know that she is genuine and committed to the duties that come with being a clerk of superior court.

“I love my job, and I love Macon County,” she said. “I’ve been dedicated to my job over 21 years serving public, and I would appreciate their vote. I’m ready to take the office into the era.”

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