Prothonotary Detailed with Endorsement
Election time is fast approaching and this year, hopefully, voters will educate themselves and make an informed decision. I would like to take this opportunity to focus on one office in particular, of which I am familiar, the office of the Prothonotary.
Some of you are probably wondering, “What the heck is a prothonotary?” It is the office where almost all court papers get filed and from which important documents get mailed. If you have been involved in any legal proceeding; divorce, custody, child support, anytime you’ve been sued, your child’s been in trouble, they took your kids away, you’ve been charged with a crime, this office would process all documents associated with any of the proceedings; almost any legal action you’ve been involved with. I should add that records include exhibits presented at court hearings that are admitted i.e. tax returns, credit card bills, pay stubs—the list goes on; very personal information.
In addition, if you have ever filed a protection from abuse petition or had one filed against you and a temporary order was granted, those are kept there as well, and are also open to the public. Many of these documents contain very sensitive and personal information. This is an important position that has a great effect on what transpires in the courts. In addition, they also do passports, but you can easily obtain one at the Troy and Waverly Post Offices, as well.
I worked for the county for seven plus years, more than six of those years for the courts. I saw enough to know that what exists now is not working. I could use this space to give examples, but what I would rather do is suggest the following: almost everyone has either used an attorney for something in their life or knows someone who works at the county courthouse. If you don’t fall into either of these categories, talk to someone who does. Educate yourself by talking to your attorney (unless he or his firm is the solicitor for the Prothonotary) or talk to a county employee. Ask for their thoughts on Sally Fairchild Vaughn and how she’s handling the job. These are the people who have interaction with this office on a regular basis. These are the people that know!
I can’t help but wonder if Ms. Vaughn’s success is because her father, Tom Fairchild, is well-respected and liked? Of course he is. But he’s not running for office, she is. For the record, I think she’s done a wonderful job redecorating the office, but that is not what the position requires.
I don’t know her opponent, Mike Shultz, well, but did have interaction with him when I worked for the courts. He would call to verify court orders, which related to the paperwork required of him for inmates being transferred to state. He was competent, professional and appeared to know the job required of him. His answers to the questionnaire published in the local paper were not elaborate, but truthful. I am impressed by what appears to be his sincere desire to make things better.
In my opinion, it’s time for change, but my vote doesn’t count, yours does.
Susan L. Bailey
(formerly of Towanda)