Republican Candidate for Davie Clerk of Court: Dan Robertson
Published 8:37 am Thursday, May 5, 2022
Daniel ‘Dan’ Robertson
Peoples Creek Road, Advance
Davie High School Class of 1976; UNC-Chapel bachelor’s degree with honors, 1980; University of Mississippi School of Law, juris doctor, 1984
Attorney in private practice; contract attorney for Davie Violence Prevention and for Family Services of Davidson County
In The Community
• Advance United Methodist Church; chair, staff parish relations committee 2020; current chair, board of trustees
• Hillsdale Rotary
• Civitan Club
• Davie County Relay for Life
Why did you decide to seek public office?
Robertson: I’m an attorney in private practice and as part of that practice, I’m appointed to represent respondents in guardianship cases, defendants in juvenile and criminal cases, and as a contract attorney for Davie County Violence Prevention, to represent plaintiffs who seek restraining orders. I have also represented parties in partition actions and handled matters as General Counsel for the former Bank of the Carolinas in foreclosure cases. I enjoy and have enjoyed my work in these matters and often work closely with the Clerk of Court and staff in handling and resolving the cases.
The Clerk’s Office in Davie County is one of the best and has some of the friendliest staff of any I have worked with. Ellen Drechsler, as Clerk of Court, was instrumental in making that happen and ensuring the efficient and competent function of the Clerk’s Office during her years of service as Clerk of Court. When I heard of her retirement, I began to consider running to help ensure the continued success of the Clerk’s Office here and to help that the members of the public are well served and treated as we would all want to be treated, regardless of their wealth, connections, political affiliation, status or education. I also wanted to continue to make sure that the laws are applied correctly and equally to all. Given my legal education, experience and background, as well as my concern for people, I feel that I can ensure that happens.
What professional or life experiences qualifies you to be Clerk of Court?
Robertson: In short, my legal education and experience, my business experience as a business owner and adviser to other business owners, my HR experience, and also my concern for people, my desire that all people be treated equally and fairly, and my integrity. I don’t care who you are, or who you know, or how much clout you have or don’t have. Justice for everyone and equality of treatment are necessary and fundamental to our democratic form of government and I’m all for democracy in the traditional sense of a government of the people, by the people and for the people.
As to my legal background and experience, I am an attorney licensed to practice in North Carolina, California, Mississippi and Missouri. I am a Davie County native and graduate of Davie High School, graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill with Honors, and graduate of Ole Miss law School where I served on law review. After graduation, I then served as a federal law clerk in Jackson and Aberdeen, Miss., and also in San Diego, Calif.
After entering private practice, I have performed work in a number of areas, including areas performed by the Clerk of Court, including guardianship, estate matters, foreclosures and partition actions.
Many are not aware of it, but the Clerk of Court essentially serves as a judge in many matters, but specifically in incompetency cases, estate and probate, foreclosures and partition actions. So the person you elect may someday be deciding whether you are competent to handle your own affairs, or not, or whether the bank can foreclose on your house, or not, or what portion of land will be yours, or someone else’s. These are critical matters that affect people in significant ways. Having a Clerk of Court who knows and understands the law, and will apply it fairly without favor, denial or delay is paramount. Taking a class on these matters or attending a seminar is not the same as knowing and practicing the law as an attorney. For one, the laws change fairly frequently. Secondly, statutes are difficult to read for most and harder to understand. Attorneys deal with them and interpret them on a daily basis. Further, statutes are often interpreted by case law, which an attorney knows how to look up and interpret.
I also have business experience running my own business as an attorney, and advising other business owners.
Finally, I have HR experience. As General Counsel for Bank of the Carolinas, and as their Chief Risk Officer, I supervised a staff of employees. I also advised the HR Supervisor on all types of personnel matters, and was involved in related litigation matters.
What are the major responsibilities of the Clerk of Court?
Robertson: The five major responsibilities of the Clerk of Court are: (1) as Probate Judge; (2) as Custodian of Records; (3) as Administrator; (4) as Comptroller; and (5) as an HR Manager. There are also six main divisions: (1) bookkeeping; (2) criminal matters; (3) civil matters; (4) estates; (5) juvenile; and (6) special proceedings.
The Clerk of Court in North Carolina is sometimes referred to as a Probate Judge because of their involvement in probate matters and administration of estates. But they also conduct hearings in mortgage foreclosures, competency proceedings, the division of land, adoptions, and name changes, to name the most prominent. So, in many respects, a Clerk of Court acts as a judge, and thus the need for legal knowledge, experience and education.
Most people know of the Clerk’s role as Custodian of Records, including legal filings and records, and as Administrator of employees responsible for assisting the public in filing and accessing court records and papers, staffing the courtrooms and setting policies and procedures. As Comptroller, the Clerk of Court is responsible for receiving and disbursing funds that come from court fees, traffic citations and fines.
Finally, the Clerk of Court acts as an HR Manager in that he or she supervises the Assistant Clerks and Deputy Clerks and ensures the compliance of laws and policies involving employees.
Robertson: My candidacy is endorsed by Ellen Drechsler, the retired Clerk of Court in Davie County. That’s not because she and I are friends or know each other personally except in a professional capacity. When she informed me of her endorsement, she said it was because of my legal education, knowledge and experience, including experience with me in court while she was the Clerk of Court. She spoke of the many North Carolina statutes that are involved in performing the Clerk of Court job and the need to know and understand those laws, as well as to interpret and research them for changes, repeals or case law interpretations. Having a law degree, as well as years of law practice experience are so important.
The Clerk of Court must necessarily not only apply and interpret the laws, but must also deal with the public, attorneys, judges, law enforcement personnel and other state employees at all levels. As an attorney, I have a pretty good understanding of attorneys and how some of them can act to cajole, intimidate, impress or charm whoever they need to in order to achieve whatever they want to. And that often comes down to them basically telling you that they know the law, and you don’t, and you should do what they say. Having a law degree, as well as years of experience in the practice of law in multiple areas of the law is the best defense to that. Maturity that comes both with age and experience is also important. I am the most senior of the candidates in age but in experience as well, and certainly in legal experience. I have dealt with people at almost all levels in law, government, business, church and society. It has taught me to be tolerant, open-minded, slow to judge and to listen. Everyone wants to be listened to and treated with respect, and I will promise to do that if elected.
As an attorney, businessman, and as a church leader, I have also learned to juggle multiple matters, prioritize, act diplomatically, make hard decisions and analyze masses of information to determine the gist of a problem and address it.
Further, I am running on my own merits without support from any faction, and therefore without obligation to them, explicit or implied. I am not part of the so-called “inner circle”. I have not entered into any discussions or agreements with any faction for their support or made any deals in exchange for any support. I am my own man, controlled by no one and beholden to no one.
Finally, as a Christian and someone who truly believes I will later be judged for my actions in life, I try to always act appropriately, treat others as I wish to be treated, be kind, be fair and do what is right as best I can determine from all of the facts and circumstances.
Early voting began on April 28 and the primary election date is May 17. I thank you for your consideration and ask you for your vote.