DOBSON — Register of Deeds Carolyn Comer has filed to retain her seat. If re-elected Comer will serve her fourth term for Surry County.
Comer, 59, is a Dobson resident and a graduate of Surry Central. Comer said serving the people of Surry County is what she enjoys. Thus, she’s looking for another four years in her position.
“It’s what I do,” exclaimed Comer. “It’s really all I’ve ever done.”
Though Comer was elected to the post in 2004, she has worked in the office of the register of deeds for a total of 26 years, as the top official, an assistant and a deputy.
Though Comer’s position is elected, she said she works hard to keep the operations of her office free and clear of any political games.
“We’ve simply made the choice to do our jobs as best we can and try to stay above the politics,” explained Comer. “We pride ourselves in avoiding the drama that politics sometimes brings to elected office.”
Comer said that drama would only serve to get in the way of the duties of her office, which she said are important services to county residents.
Comer’s office is charged with indexing legal documents, including vital records such as birth and marriage certificates, as well as deeds and powers of attorney. Comer and her staff record more than 90,000 pages of legal instruments, 1,000 birth certificates, 500 death certificates and 650 marriage records per year, according to Comer.
Comer said some records maintained by her office date back to 1771, when the county was formed.
She said each of those documents is important to the parties involved. However, she said what might be most important for county residents is that she is able to do that job while “operating in the black.”
“Our office puts funds back in the county coffers,” said Comer. “Every year our revenues exceed our expenditures.”
According to Comer’s figures, every year since she took office the register of deeds department has maintained at least $600,000 in revenue. Expenditures in the office have remained flat, at about $500,000. At its peak, revenue reached nearly $900,000 under Comer’s reign.
Comer said she’s also had other accomplishments as the county’s register of deeds. Recently, her office launched a “Thank a Vet” program. Comer and her staff solicited local businesses to take part in a veteran’s discount card program. Now when veterans file their DD form 214 with her office they receive a card which gets them discounts ranging from 10-percent off to free haircuts at local businesses.
Additionally, Comer cites bringing her office into the 21st century with programs such as electronic recording and a “Get Certificate Now” program, which makes vital records a click away, as major accomplishments.
Comer said she’s proud of the job she’s done, but none of it would be possible without a dedicated staff.
“I have an excellent staff,” said Comer. “They have become like a family to me, so why wouldn’t I want to keep working with them?”
She said all of those staff members are well qualified for the job they do.
“I and each of my staff members have attained the highest level of advanced professional certification possible for our positions,” added Comer.
Comer said, in the end, everything comes down to the oath she and her employees take — an oath to uphold laws and serve the people without bias.
“We each take oaths before God pledging that we’ll follow the laws of our state and nation,” concluded Comer. “We make no laws and set no policy, but rather, we just abide by our oaths. Doing so has allowed us to quietly and efficiently provide the level of service that our county’s citizens deserve.”
Comer is currently unopposed in her bid for re-election. The filing period for her seat and other county positions closes at noon on Monday.
Andy is a staff writer for The News and can be reached at (336) 415-4698.