2016-10-28 / Community

Election 2016

Meet the candidates

York County Registrar of Probate

The race for York County Register of Probate features Democratic Party challenger Allen Sicard of Saco trying to unseat longtime Republican incumbent Carol Lovejoy of Kennebunk

Candidate survey forms sent by the Post to each candidate are provided below, in alphabetical order. The surveys include contract information, should readers care to question the candidates further on their positions.

Name: Carol J. Lovejoy

Age: 55

Address: Briarwood Lane, Kennebunk

Phone: 608-3360 email: cjlovejoy@yorkcountymaine.gov

Occupation: Register of Probate, with 37.5 years employed in the York County Registry of Probate office

Family: Domestic partner, two children and two grandchildren

Education completed: Sanford High School

Political experience: York County Registrar of Probate (2004 to present)

Organizations and activities: Maine Association of Registers of Probate (treasurer, past secretary); Abenaki Draft Horse Association; Square Dancing

Top three issues:

1. If re-elected, I will continue to search for ways to make the probate process more efficient and less fearful for everyone faced with a life-changing, often traumatic, event whether it be the death or incapacity of a beloved family member, providing a safe living environment for a minor child, a name change for themselves or a dependent, or an adoption of a new family member. I will continue to maintain the records of the Court, which date back to 1687, to ensure that future generations have access to historical family records.

2. I will continue to provide knowledgeable, courteous, compassionate, respectful, prompt, effective service and guidance. I will ensure that the users of the Registry and Court, the staff and the taxpayers of York County continue to be treated fairly and responsibly. I want the high level of service currently provided to continue. Because I have 37 1/2 years of experience in the York County Probate Court, I have the knowledge and am the most qualified to continue the service expected.

3. It is imperative that the register of probate be able to work cooperatively, productively and respectfully with all levels of county government. This includes the county commissioners, county manager, other department heads, budget committee and employees of York County. This means to stand up to pressure from others for the best interests of the staff, the office and the taxpayers. I have accomplished this and if re-elected I will be able to maintain this relationship for the best interest of all no matter their political affiliation, educational background or economic status.

Why are you seeking elected office?

It is essential that a person with the knowledge and experience continue in this role. Having been the register of probate for the past 12 years, I can maintain this level of security and stability for the users of the probate office and the staff. I have the ability to answer questions and guide attorneys, the public and the staff in a prompt, efficient manner. If the answer to a question is not immediately known, I have the ability and resourcefulness to obtain the information needed. After 37 1/2 years of service to York County in the registry of probate, I continually learn something new almost every day. If re-elected, it would be my pleasure to continue to serve the citizens of this county.

If you could change one thing about operations of the probate office, what would it be and how would you do it?

If I could change one thing about the operations of the probate office, it would be to have a better system for scheduling hearings that go before the probate judge. This does not necessarily mean more funded judicial time. This means better time management skills on the part of all involved. In the current scheduling protocols I have to abide by, there is a block of 15 minutes built in between hearings for the judge to review files. I have worked recently with two other judges from other counties in Maine who have come to York County Probate Court to hear cases scheduled under the current scheduling protocols and they have informed me that they do not need that extra time built into the schedule. One of the judges takes one hour at the beginning of the day to review the files and the other judge reviews them on a disk from his own law office as time permits prior to arriving at probate court for the day. They have advised me to schedule hearings for them back to back. This allows more hearings to be completed in a single day. The Probate Court deals with some types of cases that require speedy hearings and decisions. With the current scheduling protocols in place, unfortunately this does not always happen. I will work with the judge of probate to ensure that all patrons of the York County Probate Court are heard in a timely and efficient manner.

Name: Allen Sicard

Age: 59

Address: Saco

Phone: [not provided] email: asicard@maine.rr.com

Occupation: Owner, Rocky Coast Marketing (began career in radio news. Worked five years at WGME-TV. Later managed cable TV ad sales, overseeing staff of 15)

Family: Married (35 years), two adult children

Education completed: Bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Boston University; MBA from the University of New Hampshire.

Political experience: Active as campaign worker and political consultant for 30 years.

Organizations and activities: York County Federal Credit Union (board member); Thornton Academy (alumni board); Waban Projects (former board President)

Top three issues:
[No answer provided]

Why are you seeking elected office?

Presently, the working relationship between the register and judge is toxic. My opponent has asked communication to her from the judge to go through the county attorney. This needs to change. She has been part of lawsuits against the judge which have been thrown out of court. How can this be helpful and foster a good working environment for the staff in the probate office? If elected, this will change. I am the only candidate who can work with the present judge or either of his two opponents, if they should win. The citizens of York County deserve professionalism in probate court and I believe my time for public service is here. That is why I am taking this challenge and running.

If you could change one thing about the probate office, what would it be and how would you do it?

The family issues handled by probate are critical to those being affected, and society in general. A backlog of, in some cases, several months, is unacceptable. The caseload has grown. It cannot be adequately handled by eight court dates per month. If elected, I have a plan to increase those dates without raising the $600,000 budget. I will recommend to county commissioners immediately after the election that extra court dates be paid for with a reduction in salary for the register (my position) and the deputy register (whom the register appoints). This will allow more court dates for whoever is elected as judge.

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