High Country Press has interviewed each candidate and here is our conversation with Lisa Vance that includes ten questions and her answers to each, sharing her personal and professional backgrounds and telling Avery’s voters why they should vote for her.
High Country Press (HCP): What is your personal background?
Vance: I am a native of Avery County, the daughter of the late Richard Vance and Christine Burleson Vance. I attended Crossnore Elementary School and graduated from Avery County High School as a member of the National Honor Society. I then attended Appalachian State University where I earned my Bachelor of Science Degree in English. I completed a year of student teaching at Mitchell County High School. Upon graduation I was designated as one of A.S.U.’s honor teachers.
HCP: What is your professional background?
Vance: I have a four-year college degree and more than 36 years of experience in the Avery County Clerk of Superior Courts office.
HCP: Why are you running to be Avery County Clerk of Superior Court?
Vance: I have worked in the Clerk’s office since I was nineteen years old. I have served as the actual Clerk of Superior Court before, having been placed in that position by the Superior Court Judge when a former Clerk resigned. I served the people of Avery County in that position for almost a year, so I already know the job well. Additionally, I genuinely like helping people and have an aptitude for, and respect of the legal system.
HCP: You have served in various capacities for more than 30 years in the Avery Clerk of Court’s office—what have those been?
Vance: Over the years I have held many jobs in the office. I have been solely responsible for the Civil District section, the Civil Superior Division, the Small Claims division, the Special Proceeding division, the Child Support division, and the Special Proceeding Confidential section.
I currently work the courtroom, the psychiatric hospital hearings, the minor admission hearings, and child support court. I also hold many of the hearings in which the Clerk is actually the Judge. I have helped in Juvenile court, in Criminal court, and have called the jury, put a jury in the box, taken the jury verdict, and polled juries. I receipt monies, look up criminal court information, and have done the office banking and cash register closeouts.
HCP: What have been your specific duties in each job you have had in the Clerk of Court’s office?
Vance: The Assistant Clerk often serves as the Judge in certain matters, and as such I have presided over land partition hearings, foreclosure hearings, incompetency hearings, restoration of competency hearings, minor adoption hearings, adult adoption hearings, waiver of extradition hearings, and first appearance hearings. I have conducted supplemental proceeding hearings. I must know what extensions of time can or cannot be granted (and how much time to grant in these matters). I have issued show causes and orders for arrest. I can work up a case from initial filing through to final disposition.
HCP: What are the most noted changes in the operation of a Clerk of Court’s office since you first started working in the Avery office?
Vance: Records were typed on typewriters and/or handwritten when I first started in 1983. I saw the changeover to computer applications that are currently the standard for every department in the office.
HCP: If you are elected as Avery Clerk of Court, what new ideas or plans do you have for how the office will operate from what it has under previous Clerk of Courts?
Vance: The State of North Carolina is implementing a new computer system this year as they prepare for e filing. Big changes are coming which will be designed to make the office more user friendly and more in line with today’s technical demands. Additionally, I hope to implement more cross training to ensure that all of the public’ needs can be met no matter which staff member is in court or is otherwise unavailable.
HCP: You have been a long-time Assistant Clerk of Court and have also served as the actual Clerk of Court, as such how would you define a good and productive Clerk of Court?
Vance: A good Clerk must know the law and the practical procedures. He or she must be fair and able to think critically and meet the numerous demands of the office including the administrative requirements as well as the practical daily workings. I believe the “High” Clerk should work just as hard as her staff. Our office is too lean to afford the luxury of a figurehead Clerk. The taxpayers deserve an efficient, hardworking Clerk.
HCP: If elected, what can Avery County’s residents and others who have business with the Clerk of Court’s office expect under your direction?
Vance: I promise to provide competent, courteous service to all citizens needing to utilize the Clerk of Courts office. I will help in any way the rules allow, but I will also take the time to explain why if we cannot legally give the requested assistance.
HCP: Do you wish to add any additional comments?
Vance: I would urge the voters to elect the candidate with the right combination of education and practical experience. I urge voters to ask themselves if they want a Clerk who already knows how to perform the many duties required of the position, or if they want someone learning as they go. If elected I am already fully trained for the job. Citizens won’t have to wait for someone to learn the position, I can see that the public’s’ needs are met from the outset.