County clerks need peace, quiet for Christmas

An editorial from the Exponent-Telegram:

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — If you need any evidence of the Marcellus shale boom in North Central West Virginia, you don’t have to count the pickup trucks with Texas plates or the number of water trucks going down the road. All you have to do is visit your local county clerk’s office.

We recently talked with some county clerks in the area and they are overwhelmed with abstractors — people getting information on properties that are to be drilled.

It’s been a problem for about five years, according to Harrison County Clerk Susan Thomas, but she said it’s only getting worse.

Some, she said, not all, are rude, pushy and do damage to the record books.

Doddridge County Clerk Beth Rogers concurs.

“They’re rude to the ones who work in the record room,” she said. “They’ll monopolize the computers. They don’t seem to have even common courtesy to their fellow workers.”

Rogers told us her office had to replace the copy machine last year after it had made more than 1 million copies.

Thomas said her office is crowded, noisy and hectic most days and that isn’t how it should be.

“It’s like a library,” she said. “That’s the type of atmosphere it should be,” Thomas said.

Thomas said the county is working hard to digitize all the records in an effort to preserve the record books, some of which date back to the 19th century.

It’s obvious something needs to be done. A small group of people should not be allowed to run roughshod over county buildings, damaging important, historic documents…

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