Voter Guide 2018: Wicomico Clerk of Circuit Court

The Wicomico Clerk of the Circuit Court’s race will be incumbent-free for the first time since 1990. This is a brief narrative summarizing the contenders’ experience and positions. A PAC 14 “One On One” interview is attached through YouTube.

 Voter Guide 2018: Wicomico Clerk of Court

Chris Welch

•Republican
•chris@welch4clerk.com

Thirty-three years after then-Deputy Clerk Mark Bowen was elected Clerk of the Circuit Court, he is retiring, with nobody in the office willing to step up and assume the duties.

Chris Welch.

That makes it a fresh race for a position that candidate Chris Welch, a longtime law enforcement officer, believes he is well suited for. The Clerk’s Office, he said, “doesn’t get enough notoriety for the work they do at that office.”

No stranger to Circuit Court, he recalled being a boy and walking from Wicomico Middle School to the Courthouse to see his father, former warden of the Wicomico County Detention Center.

“I would live in that courthouse. I was there all the time,” he said.

“A lot of people knew I was thinking about stepping away from law enforcement after many years. I have several friends in the law community who are down around the Courthouse daily and they came to me. I looked into it. That would be a very good, to stay in the community and stay involved in public service,” he said.

Welch said he is deeply rooted in the community. “This is where I want to be. This is a perfect spot at the perfect time,” Welch said.

A law enforcement office for 28 years, Welch said he is dedicated to public service.

A native of Wicomico County High School, and the son of the former county Warden John Welch said he wants to see that there is a personal touch between staff and customers who come into the office and will continue to move the office forward into the technological age.

“I want people to feel comfortable when they come in. I’ve only used the Clerk’s office a couple times but when you go in you feel kind of standoffish. I want to get that personal feeling back,” he said.

James “Bo” McAllister

•Democrat
•voteforbo2018@gmail.com

For James “Bo” McAllister, Clerk of the Circuit Court is an important job.

Bo McAllister.

The clerk is responsible for filing, recording and issuing the county’s most important legal documents, including lawsuits, criminal cases, civil cases, juvenile delinquency cases, recording and land records for all property deeds, mortgages, foreclosures, releases, business licenses and marriage licenses in the county.

Retiring Clerk Mark Bowen has no internal successor, so the successful candidate will be going in cold.

“The next best thing is to have somebody who already works with the Clerk’s office regularly and is already involved with working with the records on a daily basis,” said McAllister, a lawyer who works in the State’s Attorney’s Office and is in Circuit Court every day.

“Having someone with a background working with the Clerk’s Office would be extremely helpful,” said McAllister, who knows the attorneys, bailiffs, security guards and attorneys at Circuit Court.

“I’m a familiar face over there. I look forward to continuing to work there just in a slightly different role,” he said.

A graduate of Bennett High School, McAllister said the Clerk’s job of marrying couples is “one of the few happy times when people come to the courthouse” and he will look forward to performing marriages.   

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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