Clerk candidates tout experience

Diane Dillon likes to joke that ever since she decided to run for Hancock County Circuit Court clerk, she and her husband have had a social life.

They have been making the rounds of meet-the-candidate gatherings and campaign functions, as well as going door-to-door, to introduce Dillon as the Democratic candidate for Circuit Court clerk.

Hancock County voters will decide on Nov. 8 whether they want Dillon in that office or Republican candidate Charles R. “Chuck” Wright.

Dillon, 67, of New Cumberland, has worked as a deputy clerk in the clerk’s office since 1991, including 12 years as chief deputy. She decided to run after Clerk Brenda Jackson announced her retirement in September 2015.

“I always said I’d never run for office,” Dillon said, “but I’m not ready to retire. I feel the voters need a choice of someone with experience.”

The clerk’s office maintains all records for Circuit Court and Family Court, including divorces, child support orders, civil complaints, criminal complaints, adoptions, name changes, passports, and guardianship and paternity proceedings.

Dillon said her experience also includes handling the jury selection process for the last 20 years for the circuit, magistrate and municipal courts in Hancock County. Recently, the clerk’s office started communicating with prospective jurors via phone or text.

“I’ve done most everything in the office,” she said. “I do like my job. I like dealing with people.”

Most of the duties of the office are mandated by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. The office maintains both paper records and electronic records.

“Under Brenda (Jackson), we’ve had all our old order books scanned,” Dillon said. “We have a massive amount of filings every year. Already in 2016, we’ve had 830 filings.”

Dillon, a 1967 graduate of Oak Glen High School, said she hopes to continue the record of the clerks she’s worked for–Jackson, Harry J. Robinson and Lois Wilkinson.

Dillon and her husband of 46 years, Marvin, have two children and six grandchildren.

Wright, meanwhile, is touting himself as both a fresh face and someone with government experience.

“I have the utmost respect for Brenda (Jackson), but sometimes it helps to have a fresh set of eyes on things,” he said. “I think I might be able to bring a fresh perspective on things.”

Wright, 63, is serving his second term on Weirton City Council and also has experience on the Weirton Sanitary Board and with the Weirton Heights Volunteer Fire Department.

A 1971 graduate of Weir High School, he worked at Weirton Steel for 30 years in the tin mill, management, inside sales and customer service. Since his retirement in 2003, he has worked at the Pittsburgh International Airport and for Hancock County Schools. He plans to keep his city council job if elected to the clerk’s office.

“I’ve got pretty extensive experience in clerical work,” he said. “I understand customer service and what it takes to serve people. … All I want to do is continue the excellent service the clerk’s office has been providing over the years.”

Wright and his wife of 45 years, Debbie, have two children and four grandchildren.