Former Dare clerk honored with special service award

Published 2:17 pm Wednesday, October 4, 2023

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Retired Dare County Clerk of Superior Court Betty Mann was surprised with a special service award during the Elected Clerk’s Summer Conference held in September at The Beaufort Hotel in Beaufort, N.C.

With several close family members at the banquet watching, retired Tyrrell County Clerk of Court Nathan “Tommy” Everett announced that Mann is the 2023 recipient of the Rachel Joyner Award, a special award named after long-serving Nash County Clerk of Superior Court Rachel Joyner, who retired after an extraordinary 65 years of service to the clerk’s office.

A tireless servant and master politician, Joyner, 91, passed away earlier this year.

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Here in Dare County, Mann served as clerk of court 18 years before her 2000 retirement and was only the fourth Dare County clerk to hold that office.

During her tenure as clerk of court, the office staff grew from supervising three people to 16 while the number of case filings rose from a few hundred each year to several thousand.

“At the turn of the century there were only 40 or 50 cases a year,” explained Mann. “When I retired there were more than 17,000 cases filed annually.”

Although she says she doesn’t go all the way back to the quill pen era, Mann has, however, overseen a transition from all paper filings to electronic recordings. Even with the introduction of computers there was a need for additional space. It was no small feat to coordinate Superior Court and two District Court sessions with only one courtroom.

Outgrowing the cramped quarters within the old courthouse on the Manteo waterfront, Mann spearheaded a drive that led to converting an empty building on Budleigh Street to courtrooms and office space for her growing staff and case filings. When that building no longer met her needs, Mann was instrumental in the county building an entirely new courthouse that is in use today.

A constitutional office, the Clerk of Superior Court is considered the hub for all judicial proceedings in each of the 100 North Carolina counties. The annual conference serves as a resource and opportunity to improve communication and the administration of justice within each office throughout the state.

Invited to the annual conference on the pretext of giving a history of the Clerk of Court office, Mann was almost speechless when presented with the award.

“I am truly honored to have this award,” Mann said. “Rachel was a close friend and this was a complete surprise.”