Turner gains promotion

Published 9:58 am Saturday, April 3, 2010

WINTON – Things don’t always go exactly according to plan.

That’s the reason Sara Powell Turner is completing just her third week in charge of the Land Records Division for Hertford County despite having officially taken over January 26.

“I was supposed to officially take over the job January 26, but I went out on maternity leave on January 23,” Turner said. “I actually came back on March 8 so I’ve been playing catch-up.”

Turner was promoted to Land Records/GIS Supervisor shortly after the department’s former leader, Gay Sumner, was named Hertford County Tax Collector.

Turner worked for Sumner for five years in the Land Records office and said she was excited when Sumner told her she was applying to become the Tax Collector.

“I was surprised, but hopeful she would get it because I knew how good she would be at it,” Turner said.

After the process concluded with Sumner being named Tax Collector, Turner received another surprise.

“I was called in to a meeting with (Hertford County Manager Loria) Mrs. Williams and informed Gay had been appointed Tax Collector,” Turner said. “Then they told me the commissioners had unanimously appointed me to take her place. I was very pleasantly surprised when I found out.”

Turner said she wanted to take over the department upon Sumner’s departure because she had devoted so much time to working there the past five years.

She was hired as a Mapping Technician and worked with Sumner as the department transitioned from manual mapping to the Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping that is currently done in the county.

Basically, the Land Records Division receives deeds from the Hertford County Register of Deeds and determines the tax listing for the property and makes appropriate changes in the GIS system.

Currently, Turner’s top objective is to update the mapping on Hertford County’s online GIS website. The county was flown for photography last year and the department is in the process of finalizing the photographs so they can be placed on the website.

The office is also working on a computer addressing system which will go hand-in-hand with new 911 software being installed in the office of Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan.

“It will allow for more accurate dispatching,” Turner explained.

Turner said the new projects were just part of the transition she is making as she takes over daily operations.

“Gay and I split the work pretty evenly, but she handled all of the department head work,” Turner said. “I’m learning about doing purchase orders, filling out information for reports and attending department head meetings.”

One of her first duties was to fill her old position, a task recently completed with the hiring of Thomas Lindsay.

Lindsay will work with Turner to provide the best land records information possible, she said.

“We want to keep everything up to date and be ready for any changes that come in our area,” Turner said.

Turner is a graduate of North Carolina State University. She worked for the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Division before coming to work in Hertford County.