Story by Chris Graham
If a Staunton resident dies with a will, it’s up to Tom Roberts to decide if the will is valid.
If there is no will, he decides who should administer the estate.
His office records deeds of sale, liens, arranges for jurors to be selected for service and for witnesses to be summoned.
The office also issues marriage licenses, notarizes public applications and provides general information about the legal system.
You might not have known all that before a couple of months ago – or a couple of days ago.
“That was one of more difficult parts of the campaign. Not a lot of people know what we do here,” said Roberts, who was re-elected as Staunton’s clerk of the circuit court on Tuesday.
Roberts, a Democrat, received 69.5 percent of the votes cast to defeat Republican candidate Ray Ergenbright in the two-candidate race.
“Before I could talk about my qualifications, I had to let them know what it is I do. There was a fair bit of education involved at the start. That does make it difficult,” Roberts told The Augusta Free Press.
Roberts said his goal is “to continue to try to be the best clerk’s office in the state. This is a goal I set out in a meeting with my deputies on my first day as clerk and remains my goal today.”
He also plans to continue improvements in the use of technology in the office during his 12 years as city circuit-court clerk, he said.
“I think that the fact that the voters returned me to office is a sign that they think I’ve been doing a good job. They liked the way things were going, and felt that my record of service was strong enough to allow me to continue doing this for another term,” Roberts said.