Among the election races in Maryland that receive the least attention are administrative jobs at the county courthouses; Carroll County is no exception. Only the small fraternity of lawyers and courthouse workers pay close attention to these races.
Because none involve highly visible policy-making positions, the general public doesn't understand the responsibilities or pay much attention to the people vying for the jobs. However, when people find themselves at the courthouse having to deal with questions about estates, wills, trusts, lawsuits or other legal records, they become keenly interested in these people who are elected to serve them.
Running for Clerk of the Circuit Court are incumbent Larry W. Shipley, a Republican, and Phillip R. Miller, a Democrat. Carroll's courthouse has one of the most efficient and user-friendly clerk's offices in the state. Mr. Shipley has overseen the installation of advanced computerized technology in the office, while insisting that the staff maintain the old-style notion of service. Mr. Miller is a worthy candidate, but we see no reason to replace Mr. Shipley.
By contrast, Reese L. Starner, the Republican seven-term Register of Wills, takes pride that his office does not use computers and adamantly promises not to install any as long as he is in office. Administration of the office has not changed since Mr. Starner took charge in 1966. The result has been an erratic processing of wills and estates.
For a needed change we endorse Democrat Suzanne Albert, who has promised to modernize the Register of Wills operation and improve its efficiency and service.
The three judges on Carroll's Orphans' Court are responsible for supervising the administration of estates and resolving factual disputes. For these part-time positions, candidates don't need law degrees.
For the Orphans' Court, we recommend the Republican incumbents, Walter T. Haines and Albert W. Selby. Both have served ably during their last term. For the third seat we endorse Democrat John Lockard Barnes, an energetic campaigner whose extensive experience in tax and business matters would be useful to other members of the court.
Tomorrow: County Board of Education.