Paul Garrett wants 8 more years

Longtime Charlottesville Circuit Court Clerk Paul Garrett, 65, announces April 20 another run for the seat he's held since 1981, when he was appointed to fill the position until an election in November of that year. If re-elected, this would be his fourth full eight-year term.

The constitutional office pays $112,575, and so far, one other Dem has lined up to challenge him: Pam Melampy, a deputy clerk in the Albemarle County Circuit Court. The nomination will be determined at a firehouse primary August 20 at Burley Middle School.

Updated April 21.


"The constitutional office pays $112,575..." Why?
I have never understood why this is an elected position. It's a clerk for Heaven's sake. I also wonder why we elect the Treasurer and the Commioner of Revenue, too. I do not see why we elect Sheriffs either.

God help us all. This man has been an absolute disaster probably since he realized that as a democrat he could hold this office until he decides to give it up.
Oh, and just to refresh everyone's memory:

Paul Garret is so horrible at his job it is a tragedy.

Cville is the only clerk's office is the only one in the state not to be online. It is a crime how far behind the times this office is. It is time for someone to get in that office who is not afraid of technology. I can't disagree with anything posted above, he gets paid alot of money to do nothing.

As bosses, elected officials like Paul Garrett and Jennifer Brown are untouchable through normal city channels, like Human Resources. That means that the city staff members working under them have no protection in cases of toxic management or workplace bullying. It's time to change the system and make them regular employees, answerable to the City Mgr and Council.

Virginia has a site where one can search circuit court case information online:
Charlottesville's Circuit Court isn't even an option you can choose from. I think its the only one in the Commonwealth. Embarrassing. Why hasn't Garrett been held accountable? Maybe the voters will wise up?
btw, that smug look on his face in the accompanying photo is exactly what one might expect to see as he struggles to contain his contempt when questions or concerns are brought to his attention.

If city employees were actually answerable to city council like reality check seems to think they are, then many in management would be long gone. An incompetent court clerk may be annoying, but he can only do a fraction of the damage that someone like Jim Tolbert has done in his position. The system seems to be so damaged that neither election nor appointment are able to give us the people we need to have running things around here.

Trust me, we deal with this guy regularly, and you'd be surprised at the amount of damage he causes. He is completely incompetent. My wife often sees him at Giant on her day off--at 2PM. Way to work hard Paul! All party things aside, this guy needs to go.


?!?!?!? How about someone who will do the job for $60K? It's not THAT hard of a job that you couldn't find qualified people willing to work for almost half of what they pay.

Pretty sweet gig, if you ask me.

Llezelle Dugger has also let it be known that she's throwing her hat in the ring. The legal community is thrilled at that prospect. The Clerk's job is not an easy one by any means, and it's an important one. I have no idea why anyone would vote for Mr. Garrett to stay on for another 8 years so that he can, as he says, continue to work on getting the City's records online. Ater the 2007 debaucle where he certified to the state that his records were online and took state funds (he told them thought his records were online because.. r uready for this...there were computers in his office! )...the records are still not reliable and online. He's going to be a strong incumbent but it's time for him to go so we can have faith in our public records system.

Read the Daily Progress story on his announcement that mentioned how competent and efficient his office was. ROFLMAO!
The guy has needed to go for so long, but have a feeling he'll be around another 8 years. The Charlottesville Court Clerk's office has the reputaion of being the worst run in the state.
But then we like Charlottesville being #1 in things, don't we?

The Court Clerk's job is both important and demanding. And the fact that most people don't know what the job entails doesn't mean that how it's done doesn't affect their daily lives. The Clerk is a key figure in processing current information to meet the needs of law enforcement, business, families, et al. The Clerk is also a key figure in curating irreplaceable historical resources. The job requires broad knowledge and acute attention to detail. It also requires managerial skills -- notably, those of training, supervision, and motivation.

As a researcher, I've had the opportunity to work in Clerk's Offices all around the Commonwealth and in other states as well. In many cases, I've found Clerks to be true treasures -- helpful, hospitable, great respresentatives of their communities -- with staffs that, perhaps not surprisingly, exhibit similar traits.

Paul Garrett is not a true treasure. He is an embarrassment to this community. I know that from personal experience and observation. And I know that because so many others who have no choice but to deal with him much more frequently than I have told me so. His management style is that of a petty tyrant -- the reason he has run off so many competent employees. And that, in turn, would explain why the last half dozen times I've used the Clerk's Office I've felt compelled to stop my work to help some patron because the employee the patron asked for help had no clue how to find what the patron needed.

One anecdote: It's a bit antique but still sums up for me the attitude Paul Garrett has always brought to his prominent, well paid position. A few years ago -- before statewide smoking bans were enacted -- I walked into the record room to find an employee puffing away beside an overflowing ashtray directly beneath a clearly posted no-smoking order from the City Fire Marshal. I asked her why she was doing that. She smirked and said Clerk Garrett said she could. I went to the main desk and complained to an employee there. A look of fear crossed her face as she dropped her voice to a whisper and said there was nothing she could do because the smoker was Clerk Garrett's "pet."

At that, I went directly to Clerk Garrett's office and, after being granted an audience, registered my protest. I cited the Fire Marshal's order, of course. But I also noted that no one should need an official order to prohibit smoking in a low-ceilinged windowless room packed full of paper documents and, at a glance anyway, having no way out other than the way in.

In response, I got a disdainful dismissal. The Fire Marshal had no jurisdiction in his realm,, uh...Clerk Garrett informed me because his was a state position. End of interview. (But yes, I did call the Fire Marshal later.)

We need a change.

Worth repeating:
"It's time to change the system and make them regular employees, answerable to the City Mgr and Council."
"If city employees were actually answerable to city council like reality check seems to think they are, then many in management would be long gone. An incompetent court clerk may be annoying, but he can only do a fraction of the damage that someone like Jim Tolbert has done in his position. The system seems to be so damaged that neither election nor appointment are able to give us the people we need to have running things around here."

I think Paul Garrett's biggest problem is being able to hire competent and productive staff. Have any of you tried to hire good competent employees lately? It's not an easy task. Everybody in the applicant pool seems to be dumb as a rock, wants $20 an hour and an Internet connection to play around on all day long. We just let an employee go that spent 7 hours a day playing on Facebook and online games. The otther hour involved her eating lunch and smoke breaks.

No matter who the clerk is after this upcoming election, I wish them luck in finding any good competent employees.

Gasbag: Seriously. Read people's comments. It ain't the employees, it's the boss. And for $112k, he/she better be competent. Try this on for size: Ever waited over an hour for City Clerk to come out of his office to answer a question? I have. Ever found a document certified by that same Clerk and "forgotten" for recording? I have. Ever had the same Clerk lose a $4,000,000.00 original mortgage instrument? I have.

Deleted by moderator.

@Doug , why on earth would anybody wait an hour for a clerk to come out of his office? Would you have waited that long for a secretary? Were you just trying to avoid going back to work? I waited once for my doctor to see me forty minutes into my appointment before I left to go back to work. He never did that again. Nor did he charge me for that visit.

Cville Legal, I think it's outrageous that Cville CC isn't online, but it's not the only one -- neither Chesterfield nor Henrico Counties are either. Too bad the Supremes have no authority to order it. It's a ridiculous waste of clerical time to not be. Clerks complain about a shortage of help, and then don't take advantage of a free program that would save their deputies hours of time on the phone every day.

No Doug, honestly, I have never had to wait an hour for Paul Garrett to come out of his office. If I request to see Paul Garrett, he comes out immediately and speaks to me. He is always willing to talk to me and answer questions in a timely fashion.

Man, if Gasbag has the back of a public official then you KNOW the official is bad news.

Gasbag, if you have his ear, would you ask him why his clerks won't ever give information about files to attorneys over the phone and why he refuses to get into the 21st century and put his cases online? You know, like the rest of civilized Virginia (except Chesterfield and Henrico, equally ridiculous).

Cville Eye: I had a document that needed to be recorded in the public records that day. I waited an hour because the client needed me to. I'd expect you'd want me to do the same if you needed something done for you.

So, who keeps voting for him???

Amigo, the democrats. Whoever the democrats endorse in any election in this city wins. In this particular case, whoever wins the democratic primary in which the democrats select a candidate for clerk..... WILL be clerk. The person doesn't even have to be qualified. They can be a graduate of the 5th grade, it doesn't matter.

While I prefer not to mention names, local history has shown us that as long as an elected official has a good competent staff, the elected official doesn't have to know diddly squat about the job or how to do the job. The staff does the job, and the elected official smiles during press releases about him/her being such a great person and doing such a great job. One elected official in Charlottesville not long ago spent more time at home with headahes than he did in his office.

A 5th grader would definitively be better than the current elected Clerk. So much better.

I think Paul Garrett is well qualified to hold the office he is in. I am sorry to say that I don't feel the same about other city and county elected officials.

Pop Quiz time -- What was one of the first changes the county clerk made when elected a few years ago?

answer -- hired her own sister.

Reminiscent of a Charlottesville City Sheriff a few decades back being elected and hiring/promoting his own son. And after that, another hiring the son of his best friend.

Hampton, Vigirnia sheriff currently being sued for terminating employees who allegedly supported his opponent. The employees are wasting their time in suing the sheriff, a sheriff in Virginia can hire and fire at will, with or without cause. I hate politicians in elected positions for the things they do.