School Board Chair, Delegate and Lawyer Differ in Background

By Christy Goodman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 1, 2007

A delegate, a School Board chairman and a lawyer are running for Prince William County clerk of the court.

Republican Mich¿le B. McQuigg, independent Lucy S. Beauchamp and Democrat William M. Ryland are three candidates with very different backgrounds and a common goal.

The clerk of the court oversees about 60 employees and maintains court and land records for Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park. The clerk also is responsible for marriages, a family conflict resolution program and several other duties.

McQuigg has served the Occoquan area in the House of Delegates for 10 years. Before that, she was a member of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors.

"To me, the clerk's office is a really exciting place. . . . It is a hub of information for use by commercial entities and genealogists, and it is vital to a vibrant business community. And I can continue to help people with the government and come home and serve the people I care about," said McQuigg, who has lived in the county for nearly 35 years.

Among her qualifications, McQuigg lists her work in Richmond, familiarity with laws and ability to serve the public. If elected, she plans to better secure historic records, begin a mentoring program and be "vigilant to protect people's privacy" while maintaining a shrinking budget.

Beauchamp has served on the Prince William School Board for 16 years, 14 as chairman, giving her budget and staff management experience, she said.

"My knowledge of the budget process and administering a budget is much greater than any of my challengers, and I think that is essential for the community," said Beauchamp, who has lived in the county for 30 years and is the development director for SciencePort, the Northern Virginia Science Center at Belmont Bay.

If elected, her primary focus would be fast, efficient and friendly customer service with more flexible hours to better serve the community, she said. Beauchamp wants to make sure the court system has the best technology, hold open houses for the community and create partnerships with schools. She also would be "the biggest advocate of the clerk's office that they have ever seen," working to get more magistrates to handle the growing population.

Ryland began his career as an assistant prosecutor in the county about 27 years ago. He was appointed as clerk of the court in 1991, until Dave Mabie was elected to the office in 1992. Ryland has been in private practice since.

Ryland's main goal is to make the office "more user friendly" by expanding online services, extending office hours and possibly establishing satellite offices.

"All of those ideas need to be explored and developed in a way that is cost-efficient and responsible to taxpayer funds. And also done in a way to protect citizens' identities and confidentiality," Ryland said.

"We need to promote experience, professionalism and confidence, and I think I'm uniquely qualified to offer that to the people," he said.

Mabie served as clerk for 15 years, retiring in March. His chief deputy clerk, Wendy Jones, has been interim clerk until the election. The position pays $131,000 annually.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company