Clerk of Court seeking a fourth magistrate

Published 6:46 pm Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Beaufort County is seeking a magistrate.

It’s a job that doesn’t come up very often, according to Beaufort County Clerk of Superior Court Marty Paramore.

“It’s a great opportunity for somebody, and as far as I am concerned, it always been a very prestigious position — you are a judicial figure,” Paramore said. “We’ve had a few applicants, I think that the requirements and the demands of the job and the starting salary make it difficult in Beaufort County, in this area, to get the right person for that position.”

Paramore is assisting Superior Court Judge Wayland Sermons Jr. with the task—the superior court judge is ultimately responsible for appointing a new magistrate. A magistrate’s job includes, among other tasks, issuing warrants for law enforcement agents, setting the amount of a bond for those arrested and, on a rotating schedule, presiding over small claims court held every Wednesday.

“Judge Sermons recognizes how critical it is, and he’s looking for a person with the right demeanor, who can listen and make the right decision,” Paramore said. “He’s really trying hard to maintain diversity in that office. Diversity is a consideration for the judge, but he absolutely has to have someone who is fair and impartial.”

In addition to fair and impartial, other requirements for the job are: applicants must be a Beaufort County resident; have either a four-year degree from an accredited institution of higher learning or a two-year degree with a combination of relevant experience. While many magistrates come from a background in law enforcement, it’s not a requirement for the job, according to Paramore.

“It talks about it could be law enforcement, social work, some type of profession where you’re dealing with people, I think,” Paramore said. “People will law enforcement experience — that is not a prerequisite. The judges have moved in other directions, where they’re trying to find someone who will be fair and impartial. … to find the right person for this position.”

The position became open in the beginning of July, when Donald Sadler, who’d been a magistrate for more than 20 years, retired. Since, the county’s three other magistrates have been covering shifts in his absence.

“We’ve always had great magistrates who have done a superior job, and Donald Sadler is definitely missed,” Paramore said.

On his retirement, Sadler received a proclamation by District Court Judge Regina Parker, who oversees the magistrates, and was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine by the governor for his 32 years of service to the state. Prior to magistrate, Sadler worked as a sheriff’s office deputy.

Paramore said magistrates will work a “6 to 6” rotating schedule, which includes nights and weekends. Starting salary is currently $38,600, but when Gov. Roy Cooper signs the state budget, another $2,000 will be added to that. Magistrates will receive both on-the-job training and attend a basic training at University of North Carolina School of Government, which covers elements of crimes, criminal procedure, small claims procedure, summary ejectment, contracts, ethics and handling money. Every two years, as laid out by state law magistrates receive step increases in salary.

Paramore said he hopes to find the right applicant for job.

“They make very important decisions every day,” Paramore said. “They’re sort of the gatekeeper for the courthouse.”

For more information about this position, contact Beaufort County Clerk of Court Marty Paramore at 252-940-4047.