Debbie Shipp, Clerk of Court, Albemarle Circuit Court
Where were you born (and raised, if different)?
I was born at Martha Jefferson Hospital. My dad bought a small farm in Fluvanna County when I was 4.
When and why did you move to the Charlottesville/Albemarle area?
I moved back to town after high school, so I have basically always lived here.
What neighborhood do you live in now?
I live on Proffit Road in the Jefferson Village neighborhood, Rivanna District.
Family (spouse, kids, etc.)?
I have been married to my wonderful husband, Randy, for 35 years. We have our daughter, Jennifer and grandson Issiah, and our son David (who we lost in a fatal car accident at the age of 21 – 1/23/2011).
What is your alma mater and when did you graduate?
I graduated in 1976.
What were you doing before you came to work for the City?
I came to work in the Circuit Court in July 1976 after graduation. I started out in land records (when we hand wrote receipts) and issued marriage licenses, notary oaths and all the duties in the land records office. Then I moved to the Civil Department.
Your job title is Clerk for Albemarle County Circuit Court – what, in your own words, would you say you do?
With over 800 duties handled by this office – I can say I have now done just about everything, BUT, needless to say, everything changes so much. Since I became clerk in Jan 2008 I have handle trust accounts, condemnation accounts, equity accounts, SRA accounts, IRM’s transactions, restitution accounts, issue oaths, deposits, keeper of election results, courts, jury trials, making improvements and upgrades.
Around June 2008, the sheriff’s office gave us jury duty – now we take into consideration the schedule of all citizens called for jury duty and try our hardest to accommodate their schedule around their assigned dates. Dates are assigned prior to orientation.
What is the best part of your job? The most difficult part?
I love dealing with the public . I am passionate about the needs of others and I believe we need to be able to assist all the people that walk into our office whether they are here in the capacity of an attorney, taxpayer, or paying their court cost. I love seeing those that have turned their lives around after having been in trouble.
The most difficult is trying to get everything done that needs to be done and having time to move this office forward.
How does your job most directly impact the average person?
My job has a different impact on most individuals, depending on what circumstance brings you to our office, such as recordation of your deed, deed of trust, certificate of satisfaction, marriage license, probate of will, registration of business name, notary, or concealed handgun permit (to name a few).
What is the most interesting project or work experience that you’ve had while with the county?
So many changes have occurred since 1976 – even more changes have occurred since I was elected in 2008. I have been working on the restoration of marriage licenses. Licenses from 1780 – 1898 have been restored and digitized; 1899 – 1939 are in the process of being done at this time. Surveyors Books have been restored. Several older deed books have been restored through grants. I have added additional index book and will books 49-78 to our on line system. I have upgraded our land records systems to Resolution 3. I have made our indexes for land records available to all citizens. I have done away with books (eliminating the need for additional space) – scanning all order in criminal matters and all pleadings in civil. We are in the process of staff being cross trained.
What is a little-known fact about you?
I used to be in the Virginia Twirlettes – (led by Patricia Figgatt). Having grown up in the country, I used to drive the tractor while getting up hay and working in the garden.
What do you do outside of work hours – hobbies, etc.?
I spend time with my family. I am a member of the Dogwood Board. I work for RMC – greeting people at UVA games and JPJ concerts. I look forward to helping the Earlysville Fire Dept twice a year at their fundraising BBQ. I first volunteered in 2007 and look forward to helping each time. I do community road clean up in my neighborhood and deliver “documents” from office to individuals. My sister had planned a blood drive for my son on his first year anniversary (1/23/11). She passed away with an aneurysm on (1/16/12), and I have hosted the blood drive in memory of both and will plan on the 4th annual blood drive in their memory in January of 2015.