Last updated on May 1, 2022
Early voting begins on Thursday, April 28 across North Carolina and one of the races on the ballot in Macon County will be the Macon County Clerk of Superior Court. Three Republican candidates will appear on the Primary Election Ballot, with the winner moving to the November ballot to face off against Democratic Challenger Dinah Mashburn.
Justin Stamey is a proud Maconian who graduated from Franklin High School in 2008. He attended Southwestern Community College before transferring to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Stamey graduated in 2013 with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Criminal Justice, making me the first member in his family to graduate from a four-year school. That same year, Stamey was nominated by Macon County’s current Clerk of Superior Court Vic Perry, and was appointed by the Chief Superior Court Judge, to become North Carolinas youngest Magistrate Judge at the age of 23. For over eight years Stamey has had the honor and responsibility to serve the citizens of Macon County as both a Criminal and Civil Magistrate. In that time Stamey has acquired over 30 judiciary certifications, seven of which are job specific to be the next Clerk of Superior Court. Those certifications are Estates, Incompetency, Guardianship, Adoptions, Chapter 49 Foreclosures, Name Changes and Legitimations. Stamey also has direct experience from the judge’s bench hearing and adjudicating over 400 civil cases.
Stamey is married to his lovely wife Erika Stamey and together, they are blessed with one son Aaron Stamey, born last December. Stamey and his family attend Discover Church and enjoy being involved in multiple community outreach opportunities which include helping local foster families and children, the Pregnancy Care Center, CareNet and REACH. Stamey is also a proud Rotarian with the Franklin Rotary Club and has volunteered in years past as a Little League Baseball coach.
“This community has always been home and I am dedicated and committed to the citizens of Macon County,” said Stamey. “I am running for this position because I want to provide the citizens of Macon County with a more efficient and effective Judiciary for which they deserve. I have the knowledge and experience to your next Ex Officio Judge of Probate and I am day one ready to move the docket of cases the Elected Clerk hears and adjudicates forward. These cases include Estates, Incompetency and Guardianships, Adoptions, Foreclosures and Legitimations just to name a few. I will also have my staff day one ready for the new Odyssey Case Management System when it goes live in 2024. My staff and I will work hard each and every day to provide a high quality experience to the citizens of Macon County. You should vote for Justin Stamey because I have the necessary education and experience to bring the Clerk of Court office into the 21st century.”
Michael (Mike) Trammel
Michael (Mike) Trammel has been married to his high school sweetheart Dawn for 35 years this June. Together they have three children: Kellie who is the Children’s Ministry Director at Cowee Baptist Church, Eric who is a C-17 Air Force crew chief, and Jennifer who works at Macon Program for Progress. Dawn and Mike also have two grandkids. Trammel is retired from full-time service with the Macon County Sheriff’s Office in 2016 where he served as the lieutenant over the courthouse and civil process. Trammel was the second deputy in Macon County to reach a full 30 years of service and after a month of separation, he returned in a part-time capacity in the court system. Trammel currently havs over 35 years of service to the citizens of Macon County, 25 of them in a management/supervisor setting. Trammel is a graduate of Franklin High School and Southwestern Community College Basic Law Enforcement with certificates of advanced law enforcement certification (highest level of recognition through sheriffs standards. Based on education, training, and years of service), Advanced Civil Process, First Line Supervision for Criminal Justice Personal, North Carolina Department of Justice Interaction Management, Federal Bureau of Investigation Police Supervision, and numerous other law enforcement criminal and civil process courses of instruction and legal updates.
“I am running for office because I saw a need and as a result of my supervisory experience and being a public servant for over half my life, I knew I was the best suited to meet that need,” said Trammel. “As the lieutenant over the courthouse and civil process, I saw firsthand how much work still needed to be done to meet the minimum of care. For instance, building bridges of communication between our law enforcement agencies and citizens. As well as being able to carry on difficult conversations, advocating to County Commissioners about safety concerns (our courtrooms are filled beyond capacity, and the hallways are lined with defendants, their victims, and witnesses.), and everything in between. I pledge to provide a fresh perspective and a great love for people. My combined knowledge of how the courts work, my ability to interpret both civil and criminal laws, and my life experiences serve as indispensable qualities that make me the best candidate for this position.”
Shawna Thun Lamb
Shawna Thun Lamb and her husband Jimmy have two children, Kilee and Kehler. After graduating from Franklin High School, Lamb attended Southwestern Community College, obtaining two Associates Degrees in Criminal Justice and Computer Information Systems with various certificates of achievement and completion including Cyber Security. While in college, Lamb completed internships with the Clerk of Court office, community service program and probation office.
Lamb has worked in the Macon County Clerk of Court office for over 21 years with experience in criminal, bonds, jury, civil, juvenile and DSS matters/cases, but mainly in District and Superior Criminal court. Lamb has a strong work ethic and upholds the laws of the State of North Carolina.
“I see this as an opportunity to better myself and provide quality service to the people of Macon County. My background in the judicial system and the working relationships that I’ve established give me knowledge and perspective that will aid my ability to perform as Clerk. With my training, certifications from the State, and years of hands-on experience, I’m confident that I know the job and can make positive improvements for our community and office.”
What do you see as being the primary function of the Clerk of Court and how are you best suited to fulfill that function?
Stamey: “The Elected Clerk of Superior Court has many roles that they must do and oversee in both the courtroom and in the Clerk’s office. As far as overseeing the office, there are six divisions the Clerk of Superior Court is responsible for. Those divisions are Bookkeeping, Estates, Civil, Criminal, Juvenile and Special Proceedings,” said Stamey. “The Elected Clerk is the Ex Officio Judge of Probate. This means they hear matters involving the estate of a loved one after they pass away. They also hear incompetency cases, guardianship cases, adoptions, Chapter 49 Foreclosures, legitimation cases just to name a few. In total there are 46 different types of cases the Elected Clerk of Superior Court has jurisdiction to hear and adjudicate. The Elected Clerk is a Comptroller. They are responsible for receiving, investing and distributing millions of dollars from court fees, fines and traffic citations. In Macon County approximately 2.9 million dollars has come through the office this fiscal year. As a magistrate I have handled hundreds of thousands of dollars from bonds, marriage fees and wildlife citations. I take pride in knowing that after every audit that has been conducted, my books have balanced every year for the past 8 years and they will continue to do so when I am elected. The Elected Clerk is a custodian of records. They are responsible for the integrity of each and every case that is filed. I ensure that the integrity will be continuously met both in paper filings and in digital filings with the new odyssey case management system. Elected Clerks are administrators. From streamlining the issuing summons to court to docketing every criminal and civil case to compelling witnesses to court, this is another important function of the office. The Elected Clerk of Superior Court should be knowledgeable in all of these areas because above all they are a leader. I choose to lead from the front. I will be out front with my staff working either in the courtroom, the office, or as the Ex Officio Judge of Probate to provide the citizens with the most Efficient and Effective Judiciary for which they deserve.”
Trammel: “The Clerk of Superior Court has 5 main responsibilities: Judge of probate, Records keeper, Administrator, Comptroller and Leader,” said Trammel. “It’s important that the voters understand and realize that the Judicial Branch in North Carolina established these and from there it is broken down into subtopics. Why this is important to understand is because, this allows and requires that everyone in the state of North Carolina has the access to information and receives the same level of care across the state. Therefore, the only difference that separates the candidates is who they are and their leadership experiences. I have over 25 years of service to the people of Macon County in a leadership role. A role that required me to tend to a variety of people, one that was in the political arena, and a role that required me to get the job done and done with excellence.”
Lamb: “The primary function of the Clerk of Superior Court is to maintain all clerical and record-keeping functions,” said Lamb. “In addition, to provide public access to court records and provide copies. I am best suited for this position because I am the only candidate that has direct experience within the clerks office. I know the changes that need to happen, and I intend to improve customer service and the public’s access to judicial records.”
What is your 5 year vision for the clerk’s office?
Stamey: “My 5 year vision is simple. Bring the Clerk of Court office into the 21st century,” said Stamey. “I will do this by providing cross-training opportunities to both deputy and assistant clerks and utilize that knowledge for the benefit of the public. Also, implement the new Odyssey case management system and educate the public on the workings of the judiciary and how to file and receive judgments digitally.”
Trammel: “My initial priority is going to focus on improving customer services and ensure that we provide ALL services available through the clerk’s office to the citizens of Macon County. There’s been a lot of discussion about the new Odyssey program that’s supposed to be coming out in the next few years and I am definitely a fan of the services that it would bring,” said Trammel. “It would be especially beneficial for the Highlands and Nantahala area residents. The benefits of sitting at your home or office and answering a few questions online, preparing court documents (such as absolute divorce, name change, small claims or summary ejectment– to name a few), or pay a ticket, ask for a reduction, compliance or dismissal. We are already way behind schedule with this program and even at a more basic level, the care we offer our community. There are many other issues such as safety and more that need to be addressed and handled properly.”
Lamb: “My five year vision in the office would be to obtain more public service computer terminals so that the public has better access to come in and look up court records. Continually improve service to the public. I want to accomplish my plan by creating better transparency, accountability, simplicity and consistency within the office.”
Highlands and Nantahala residents have a significant distance to travel to visit the Clerk’s office, what, if anything, can be done to better serve these residents?
Stamey: “Macon County only has one courthouse. However that doesn’t mean that we cannot be proactive in providing those citizens in rural areas with the capability to access the courts,” said Stamey. “As long as they have internet connectivity, the citizens will have access to the courts through eCourts. This includes a guide and file system to a number of filings. By 2024, all filings and judgments will be conducted digitally. If you would like more information about the eCourts system and how to start a filing, please visit www.nccourts.gov/services.”
Trammel: “These are the areas where the Odyssey system would be beneficial but this is definitely an area that I’ve been thinking about for years,” said Trammel. “It’s so frustrating to me to see these residents traveling this distance for jury duty, only to find out when they arrive that they are not needed. Better communication needs to be established. The current process would be for the person to phone in to the clerk’s office, to find out if they are needed the next day. It is my intention to fix this and also establish and utilize social media to help keep everyone updated with current issues and court matters. At the present time, documents are required to be recorded at the clerk’s office with a time stamp. Which means, until we have a solution to that, travel to Franklin will be required for documents. My slogan is “it’s about people, not politics.” If elected, you are entrusting me to serve you the best ways possible and that’s my comment to all of Macon County– to serve you to the best of my abilities.”
Lamb: “One of the first plans of actions I plan to undertake as Clerk of Court is to have a magistrate in Highlands at least once a week so the residents there have closer access for assistance,” said. Lamb. “Also, we have a website that can help with all forms, civil packets, how to get a citation dismissed, court dates, and calendars.”
What improvements can be made to bring the Clerk’s office in Macon County forward in the digital age?
Stamey: “We are moving away from the archaic paper filing system that we have used for decades and implementing the new Odyssey case management system by 2024,” said Stamey. “The new system is set to digitalize all the filings and judgements for the office. It will also streamline cases by moving away from paper files to digital files in a cloud base system. The Administrative Office of the Courts is currently updating all the hardware in the courthouse to ensure an easy transition when the time comes. When I am elected I will be on the front lines educating the public on how to use this new technology. My staff and I will provide a quality experience to ensure your filing is done right. We work for you!”
Trammel: “As mentioned before the odyssey program is an all in one case management system BUT, we have to get the proper infrastructure established as well. This will require proper internet access and computer systems to provide this function,” said Trammel. “I will be lobbying locally and even in Raleigh if needed to ensure that we get these services. There is no excuse or reason that we cannot provide the same level of service and care that you would receive absolutely anywhere else. We, as the citizens of Macon County, deserve better.”
Lamb: “In what can be called a challenge and hopefully a future solution as well, is the new statewide computer system that’s currently in development,” said Lamb. “While it hasn’t launched at this time, I have great hopes that once it’s up and running it will streamline some processes and provide more services and online information to the public. With any upgrade comes challenges and I have plans to focus on training and support for the Clerk’s staff to ensure a smooth transition. This represents just another way we strive to continuously improve service to the public while integrating technology and reducing paper, whenever possible.”
Any additional details or information.
Stamey: “The next Elected Clerk of Superior Court should have the necessary education and experience to serve the citizens of Macon County,” said Stamey. “I am the only candidate in this race with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Minor in Criminal Justice and over 30 Judiciary Certifications. Also, I am the only candidate with over eight years of firsthand experience from the judge’s bench to be your next Ex Officio Judge of Probate. It is not oblivious to me that each judgment that is rendered has real world impact to our community and extends beyond than the courthouse step. A vote for Justin Stamey is a vote for Experience, Fairness and Dedication to serving you, the citizens of Macon County.”
Trammel: “As a Christian and Republican, I hold to conservative values. I have been a Republican for over thirty-five years and have changed nothing about myself to try and win the voter’s favor. I see myself as a public servant, not a politician,” said Trammel. “I am motivated by a strong desire to serve the citizens of Macon County in the role of Clerk of Superior Court and I pledge to attend to the needs of the people over the demands of politics, retain an approachable stance, and treat all interactions with the public with total confidentiality. I’ve heard the phrase “experience matters”, and I believe that, but it has to be the right kind of experience. This is a leadership position that requires invaluable leadership experience to serve all of Maon County. I am not seeking this position for political gain or any kind of “power”, I simply want to help you and am committed to serve you to the best of my abilities. I would implore you to consider me, Mike Trammel, to be your next Clerk of Superior Court.”
Lamb: “My roots are here in Macon County and that’s a large part of what motivates me to serve our community. From my grandparents, the late Chief Ernie Wright and Gladys Wright, to my parents, Charles and Gloria Thun, I was raised to appreciate hard work and the rewards that come from service,” said. Lamb. “For the last 21 years I have worked with the public and within the court system and currently hold the position of Assistant Clerk of Superior Court. My goal is to listen to the people of Macon County and provide a positive and effective Clerk’s office. It would be an honor to further that goal as the elected Clerk of Court.”