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Opinion: Clayton Bendell Fails the Basic Requirement for the Register and Recorder Office

opinion

Submitted by Dwight Weidman of Greene Township

I received a mailing promoting a young man for the office of Register and Recorder, Clayton Bendell, the other day, and like most, I skimmed over the contents. It wasn’t until I received a text from a friend that I finally read it in detail, and I was astounded by the fact that the candidate for the position had actually admitted, in a roundabout manner, that he wasn’t qualified for the job!

The Office of Register and Recorder is an extremely important office here, or in any other county. The person in that job is responsible for recording all documents pertaining to land records including deeds, mortgages, easements, Right-of-Ways, and others; approximately 19,000 per year and rising. The office also handles the probate of estates upon death for executors and administrators, records military discharge records and notary bonds and commissions, attends court hearings as a witness to delinquent estate filings and is the collection agency for Department of Revenue for State Realty Transfer Tax and Inheritance Tax.

I don’t know about you, but, to me, this doesn’t sound like an appropriate place for OJT (On-the-Job-Training).

The incumbent Register and Recorder, Linda Miller, stepped down last year after many years of excellent service, and recommended as her replacement, Joy Heinbaugh, her Chief Deputy, who has 17 years of service. Heinbaugh was appointed last October to fill out the remainder of Miller’s term. The office has continued to provide us with excellent service and hasn’t missed a beat. Now, Joy Heinbaugh is running for Register and Recorder in her own right.

Heinbaugh’s challenger for the job is 24-year-old Clayton Bendell, who graduated from Shippensburg University with a Political Science degree and who has been working for his mother and father at Thompson Oil Company, the family business. He also worked briefly as a staffer for congressman John Joyce. Clayton’s parents are also newly minted members of the local Republican Committee.  As I read Bendell’s mailing and also refer back to some questions he answered for another local publication, I can’t see ANY experience which would qualify him for the job of Register and Recorder. In fact, he actually states in his mailing that “The operations of Register and Recorder does not (sp) require special skill sets, but would greatly benefit from the efficiencies and ingenuity to incorporate forward thinking initiatives.”

Aside from the bad grammar in his statement above, if you translate Bendell’s words into everyday English, what he is actually saying is, “I am totally unqualified for the job, but I am really smarter than anyone who IS qualified”.

No thanks, Clayton. Maybe a few more years working out in the real world would be of great benefit to you.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m certainly not against young people getting involved in public service, but someone fresh out of college with almost no valid work experience shouldn’t be entrusted with an important Row Officer position such as Register and Recorder.  Just because a local party establishment wants to put one of their own in office doesn’t mean that we should blindly obey their wishes.

We need experience and competence in the Register and Recorder office, and Clayton Bendell doesn’t even begin to meet the basic requirements for the job.  Joy Heinbaugh is the obvious choice for the job of Register and Recorder. That’s not just an endorsement, it’s just common sense.

Dwight Weidman is a resident of Greene Township and is a graduate of Shepherd University. He is retired from the United States Department of Defense, where his career included assignments In Europe, Asia, and Central America. He has been in leadership roles for the Republican Party in two states, most recently serving two terms as Chairman of the Franklin County Republican Party. He has been an Amateur Radio Operator since 1988, getting his first license in Germany, and is a past volunteer with both Navy and Army MARS, Military Auxiliary Radio Service, and is also a certified firearms instructor. In his spare time, he dabbles in genealogy and learning new languages.

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