SNOW HILL – After nearly two decades in office, Register of Wills Charlotte Cathell will not run for re-election in 2018.
Cathell said during an interview Tuesday that she’d decided not to file for re-election. Instead, she will endorse Terri Westcott, the register of wills administrator, as she campaigns for the position.
“It was a hard decision because I still love the job,” Cathell said, “but I still have over a year to be here.”
Cathell, who is married to retired Judge Dale Cathell, said she’d been thinking about ending her nearly 20-year career as register of wills for some time. The decision was made easier after she learned that Westcott, her longtime deputy, was interested in taking her place.
“While I still love the job tremendously, I thought it was time for me to do some things that my husband wants to do, like travel,” Cathell said. “What made my decision easier was when I talked to my chief deputy and she said she’d be interested in running for the position. Because she’s willing to do that and carry on our great responsibility of customer service, it made my decision easier.”
Cathell, a longtime Ocean Pines resident, was sworn into office in December of 1998. Growing up with a father who served as state’s attorney in Worcester County in the 1930s and 1940s, Cathell said she’d always had an interest in politics and thought she’d enjoy working as register of wills. She was already familiar with the courthouse, as she’d spent time as a deputy clerk for the Worcester County Clerk of the Circuit Court.
Since 1998, Cathell has been overseeing the administration of wills. Anytime anyone dies her office ensures that property in that individual’s name is transferred to whoever is meant to receive it.
Cathell says what has made her job enjoyable is being able to help people during an emotional time.
“It’s an emotional time,” she said. “Being able to help people has been the biggest reward.”
While Cathell acknowledges that it will be difficult to leave the position, she is confident that Westcott — if elected — will continue the tradition of customer service the office maintained under her leadership.
“I know with Terri it will,” she said. “I really pride myself on the office. I have a wonderful staff.”
Westcott, who filed to run for register of wills on Monday, said she enjoys her work and simply wants to continue with it.
“I’m running because I love my job,” she said. “I love helping people. I feel like it’s the next step in my career.”