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JACKSON – Replacing three decades of local government experience will be no easy task.

Effective next week, long-time Northampton County Register of Deeds Pauline Deloatch will retire, thus ending 26 years of public service.

First elected in 1988, Deloatch, who resides in the Faisons Old Tavern community, has served as the guardian of the county’s vital records, some dating back to the 1700’s. Her office is typically busy with individuals searching for information regarding land transactions, births, deaths, etc.

Since Deloatch’s retirement comes a full two years prior to the end of her current four-year term (she was last reelected in 2012), Northampton County officials are required to follow North Carolina General Statute 161-5 in replacing Deloatch.

That statute reads, “When a vacancy occurs from any cause in the office of register of deeds, the board of county commissioners shall fill such vacancy by the appointment of a successor for the unexpired term, who shall qualify and give bond as required by law.  If the register of deeds was elected as the nominee of a political party, the board of county commissioners shall consult the county executive committee of that political party before filling the vacancy and shall appoint the person recommended by that committee, if the party makes a recommendation within 30 days of the occurrence of the vacancy.

“In the interim between a vacancy in the office of register of deeds and the appointment and qualification of a successor register of deeds, under the provisions of subsection (a), any incumbent assistant or deputy register of deeds appointed under G.S. 161-6 prior to the vacancy shall continue to hold office as assistant or deputy registers of deeds until discharged or otherwise lawfully relieved of office by the lawful successor to the office of register of deeds.”

According to Northampton County Manager Kimberly Turner, the county’s Board of Commissioners, upon learning of Deloatch’s early retirement, notified the executive committee of the Northampton County Democratic Party. That committee is required to follow the requirements set forth in the state’s General Statutes and make their recommendation to the commissioners.

Turner said the party’s recommendation must be accepted by the commissioners.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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