The Cleveland County Register of Deeds office opened as usual at 8:00 a.m. Monday, May 2, to serve citizens, with a new leader at the helm.
Debra Mull (Debi) Harrill of Shelby was appointed by the Cleveland County Board of Commissioners April 19 as register of deeds, to fill the remaining months of Bonnie E. Reece’s unexpired term. Ms. Reece, register of deeds since 1995, retired early effective April 30. At the same meeting, Commissioners unanimously adopted a proclamation commending Ms. Reece’s service.
As shown in the photo at left, Ms. Harrill was sworn in at 7:45 a.m. May 2 by Cleveland County Clerk of Court Mitzi M. Johnson, in the Alexander Conference Room of the County Administration Building. Her husband, Fred Harrill, held the Bible for the oath of office.
As required when an office change occurs, assistant registers were sworn in immediately thereafter, assuring that the office’s services proceed without interruption.
Ms. Harrill earlier this year filed as a candidate to succeed Ms. Reece as register of deeds with a new four-year term, and she will be the Democratic nominee for the office on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.
As set forth in state law, in making the appointment, County Commissioners received the recommendation of the retiring office-holder’s political party. Ms. Harrill was unanimouslyrecommended by the Executive Committee of the Cleveland County Democratic Party. Its chair, Joyce Sheaffer of Earl, wrote, “We are confident Ms. Harrill has the qualifications, experience, and commitment to carry forward the responsibilities of the office with the same integrity and sense of service that Ms. Reece has demonstrated.”
The Commissioners’ April 19 proclamation recounted that Ms. Reece, shown at left, had been a county employee since August 1989, having served in the county finance department before becoming register of deeds in 1995. It also noted that she had received two recognitions from the North Carolina Association of Registers of Deeds—the Eunice Ayers Distinguished Service Award in 2001 and the Shining Star Award in 2012—“for consistently going above and beyond the call of duty for the Association and for Cleveland County.”
“She has earned the admiration, respect and friendship of those that have had the pleasure of serving with her,” the proclamation says as it concludes with a commendation of her service and best wishes for “many years of health and happiness as she moves into life’s next adventure.”
Reception honors retiring Register of Deeds; area colleagues among well-wishers Among the many attending an April 28 retirement reception for Bonnie E. Reece were fellow register of deeds officials from seven other area counties. The festive reception was held in the Register of Deeds office in the Cleveland County Administration Building, where Mrs. Reece has served as register since 1995. Gathering to convey their congratulations, appreciation, and best wishes were also county leaders and co-workers, other elected officials, friends and family.
Earlier in the day, the area register of deeds officials were in Gastonia for a District II meeting of the N. C. Association of Registers of Deeds, of which Mrs. Reece has been an active member, and the officials ended their day at the reception honoring their colleague.
Shown in the photo, the officials and their counties are, first row, left to right, Susan Lockridge, Gaston; Mrs. Reece, Cleveland; Ben Hines, Alexander; Amy Shook, Watauga; second row, Danny Hester, Lincoln; Laura Anderson, Burke; Karen Smith, Gaston; Donna Spencer, Catawba; and Wayne Rash, Caldwell.
All are their counties' registers of deeds except Ms. Smith, who is assistant register in Gaston. More about Bonnie Reece career in Shelby Star