Candidate Q&A: Terri Clark, Register of Wills candidate

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EDITOR’S NOTE — The Times asked the 2015 candidates for Chester County county-wide office to answer a serious of questions relative to their campaign and office, as well as their personal background. Wanting to give each candidate a direct, unfiltered, option to communicate with the voters, these responses are not edited nor abridged in any way.

TerriClark

Terri Clark

By Terri Clark, Republican candidate, Chester County Register of Wills.

1. Whether you are an incumbent, or a challenger, what prompted you to seek office?

I am seeking re-election because there are important projects that I would like to see to their completion. The most important project is in the early phases of implementation, a new computer system that the Administrative Office of PA Courts (AOPC) is developing for Registers throughout the Commonwealth. I have been an integral part of a small group of people attending Joint Application Development sessions in Harrisburg to help the AOPC understand and develop the software needed by this office. In addition, I am in the planning stages to implement a credit card payment method for our citizens and have plans to expand our outreach program.

2. Can you describe an achievement in your professional or elective life that you are especially proud of, and why?

I am especially proud of serving the citizens of Chester County. On the West Chester Area School Board, I did what’s best for the children of our district and as the Register of Wills, I provide important services to our terminally ill and non-ambulatory residents whereas I travel to hospitals, hospice, and homes to process marriage license applications and provide notary services.

3. Talk about a difficult decision you’ve had to make, how you went about it and what the outcome was.

As a quasi judicial officer, I have experienced several difficult decisions regarding contested will hearings. It is my sworn duty to follow the Laws of the Commonwealth and sometimes that conflicts with my instincts. However, my job in the hearings is to listen to all testimony and follow the law.

4. As not all Row Offices are as self explanatory as District Attorney or Sheriff, can you, briefly, explain the duties of the office you seek?

The Register of Wills/Clerk of the Orphans’ Court is the filing office for the Orphans’ Court division of the common pleas bench.

The Register of Wills is the office that decedent estates are opened. The Register is responsible for Probating Wills. The office also acts as an Agent of the State with the collection of Inheritance Tax.

The Clerk of the Orphans’ Court receives Petitions to the Orphans’ Court for Adoptions, Guardianships of Incapacitated Persons and Adoptions. This office also processes Marriage Applications, and issues Marriage Licenses.

5. What qualities do you feel make you the best candidate for that job?

Management experience is critical. Ability to budget efficiently and use taxpayer dollars wisely and frugally is a must.

6. What do you feel are the most important issues in your race.

It is critical that the office continue to be managed efficiently while providing the same great customer service that our residents and users have come to expect. My budget is approximately 5% lower since taking office. And, I intend to continue to expand services while holding the line on our operating budget.

7.  Is there anything else that you would like the people of Chester County to know about you?

Ms. Clark did not answer this final question.

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Terri Clark
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It’s a shame that my opponent is being dishonest to voters with regard to my office and my record. As Register of Wills, I’ve treated every person who comes to the office with dignity and respect. And, I certainly have never apologized for doing so. I have always followed the law. My opponent’s claims about the office and me are clearly guided by a lack of knowledge and understanding of office operations.