Q&A with Westmoreland Register of Wills candidates | TribLIVE.com
Westmoreland

Q&A with Westmoreland Register of Wills candidates

Renatta Signorini
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Four candidates are vying to serve as Westmoreland County’s next Register of Wills and lead the row office that handles filing and docketing of actions in Orphans’ Court, including estates, guardianship, marriage licenses and adoptions. The office is the central location for birth and death records.

Below is biographical information on each candidate as well as their responses to questions from the Tribune-Review.

Kimberly Horrell

Republican

Age: 54

Residence: Greensburg

Occupation: Transportation department specialist

Education: Greensburg Salem High School, training in customer service, retail, sales and marketing with the U.S. Postal Service

What do you think you would bring to the office, if elected?

A new approach to connecting with the residents of Westmoreland County. People are unaware about the office unless a life changing event happens. I believe it is the responsibility of the Register to be more proactive in informing our citizens. My plan, if elected, is to engage in local community events where I can be more visible and provide helpful information. I also want to establish contacts with the Area Agency on Aging, funeral directors, senior businesses and centers, as well as bridal shops in Westmoreland County. These associations will be very beneficial with my outreach endeavors.

How do you think you could run the office better?

The office deserves an elected official who will lead by example and effectively communicate with staff. The employees have a lot of knowledge and experience; they do a great job representing the office. If elected, I plan on engaging with the staff to acquire the information needed for outreach events as well as cross training, which I feel is very valuable to the office and employees. Additionally, I would like to develop contacts with the Westmoreland County Bar Association to obtain feedback and be open to ideas that can be accommodating of the office.

Do you have any specific changes you’d like to make?

Yes. The office has extended hours on Tuesdays until 6 p.m. I will change that day to Thursdays to align with the Prothonotary’s office. It makes sense and it’s more convenient for our residents who are applying for marriage licenses (Register of Wills) and passports (Prothonotary).

Why should voters pick you?

My focus will always be about the citizens of Westmoreland County. I desire to do more for them through outreach initiatives and an open door policy. My strong work ethic, moral character and diverse background will translate into an elected official our residents can trust and rely on. I am fully committed to being a full time Register; and if elected, I am only seeking two terms. I encourage voters to visit my website to learn more about me at www.electkhorrell.com.

Sherry Magretti Hamilton, incumbent

Republican

Age: 42

Residence: Hempfield

Occupation: Attorney/Register of Wills and Clerk of Orphans’ Court

Education: Bachelor’s degree in psychology from University of Pittsburgh, Juris Doctorate from University of Pittsburgh School of Law and masters in business administration (MBA) from Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Are there any accomplishments you want to highlight that you’ve achieved since you’ve been in office? What improvements to the office have you made since you were elected?

I was appointed to serve on Elder Abuse Task Force and the Statewide Joint Application Design (JAD) Committee for the development of the Guardianship Tracking System with the AOPC (Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts) in Harrisburg. I taught a CLE (Continuing Legal Education) to Western Pennsylvania lawyers in Pittsburgh through PBI (Pennsylvania Bar Institute) on the Estate and Orphans’ Court Matters. Active in the Register of Wills and Clerk of Orphans’ Court Association of Pennsylvania (member of legislative committee and Pennsylvania State Association of Elected County Officials alternate). My office is consistently under budget, we are self-sustaining and contribute a surplus to the county’s general fund each year. I am present in the community at Senior Expos and other events and boards. I have made presentations on the Guardianship Tracking System to various organizations. I offer offsite services for probate and marriage licenses including most recently to issue Certified Marriage Licenses needed for the RealID. We have digitized marriage records that were on microfilm and indexed them through our software allowing us to go offsite to issue these certified copies. We are back-scanning estate records and have made them available online as a convenience to the public and professionals.

Why should voters pick you?

The Register of Wills is a quasi-judicial position that requires one to preside over hearings and use discretion applying the law to appoint an administrator if needed. I am the only candidate that is an attorney and has the legal knowledge to apply the law in these situations. I have been in the office doing the job for nearly 5 years, first as the Chief Deputy and now as the Register/Clerk of Orphans’ Court. I have experience in business, legal and public service fields.

And anything else you’d like to add about your experience, qualifications, reasons for running?

I serve on the Board of Directors for CASA of Westmoreland and the Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce. I’m a former Hempfield Township Supervisor. I am an adjunct instructor for both WCCC and Seton Hill University where I have taught legal, real estate and business courses. (WCCC since 2007 and last fall at SHU). I’m a member of Word of Life Church and the Westmoreland County Bar Association. I volunteer in a number of areas including with my dog, Josie, who is a certified therapy dog. Josie and I have visited many medical facilities and senior centers as a “therapy team”. I also volunteer with Student Council at my sons’ school, teaching 4th and 5th grade students about the government and the democratic process.

Katie Pecarchik

Democrat

Age: 51

Residence: Hempfield

Occupation: Deputy clerk in the Registers of Wills office; Notary Public at family business North Greengate Notary

Education: Jeannette High School

What do you think you would like to bring to the office, if elected?

I have 16 years of experience working in the Register of wills Office, and my knowledge and insight, will bring positive change to this office. Also, my strong work ethic and dedication will bring higher standards and improved accuracy to this office.

How do you think you could run the office better?

I will be a full-time Register of Wills, working along with the staff to ensure consistency, accuracy and organization of the office. I will also encourage new ideas, making the office more efficient and more user friendly.

Do you have any specific changes that you would like to make?

I will make online files and documents more easily accessible to the public. I will also personally cross train the staff to do every job in the office, so they can serve the public with confidence and accuracy. Customer service is my number one priority.

Why should voters pick you?

I have 16 years of knowledge and experience working in the Register of Wills Office. I know first hand all of the issues and changes that need to be made, to make this office the best that it can be. I will be a full-time Register of Wills of Westmoreland County and will be dedicated to working with the people of Westmoreland County.

Any other qualifications?

I am a union member and proudly endorsed by the Teamsters Local 30, The Greater Westmoreland Labor Council, and The United Mine Workers of America District 2.

Susan L. Vosefski

Democrat

Age: 58

Residence: Unity

Occupation: Office administration/manager and estate administration coordinator

Education: Business management degree from Westmoreland County Community College

What do you think you would like to bring to the office, if elected?

I will be a visible and present Register of Wills providing consistent leadership and management experience to a busy office where the office would work as a team to provide compassionate and professional customer service.

How do you think you could run the office better?

Obtaining 20 years of management experience you are able to bring all of your experience to an office where you are able to recognize its strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, establishing the necessary improvements to the office that will serve the citizens of Westmoreland County to its full potential.

Having someone internally challenging as well as a past employee only shows the discord that is within the office. That can only be solved with a fresh face and a new approach.

Why should voters pick you?

With my 20 years of experience in management and 15 years of experience in estate administration, combined with my work ethic, common sense, compassion, and my desire to serve the county and its citizens to the best of my ability, I believe I am the fresh face that the voters are looking for.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Westmoreland
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