Clerk to step down, backs replacement

By: By Chris Berendt -

Sampson’s Clerk of Superior Court Norman Wayne Naylor informed his staff Wednesday that he intends to step down at the end of the year and has endorsed the appointment of fellow Republican Dwight Williams Jr. to fill out his unexpired term.

Naylor is currently in his fourth term as Clerk of Superior Court, a post he has held since 2002. His current term will end in 2018. He told his staff he will be retiring on Dec. 31, 2017 and wants Williams to begin Jan. 1, 2018 and serve out the remaining 11 months of his term, Williams confirmed by phone Thursday afternoon.

He said he met with Naylor Wednesday morning prior to Naylor’s meeting with staff.

“He asked if I would fill his unexpired term. I told him I was humbly honored and I’ve agreed to it, yes,” Williams said. “I have had a desire most of my adult life to serve the people of Sampson County in any way that I could. I have done so in several ways as the opportunity has availed itself.”

Williams has been a force in the Sampson County Republican Party for years, serving as a precinct chairman, precinct judge, county treasurer, county vice-chairman and ultimately as chairman, a position he held for more than five years. Williams also served for a short time on the three-member Sampson Board of Elections.

“I’ve been approached a number of times to serve in some elected capacity, but the time never seemed to be right,” said Williams. “This time it does.”

He said Naylor has “served Sampson County with distinction,” and pledged to do the same.

Any appointment will have to be approved by Senior Resident Superior Court Judge W. Douglas Parsons of the 4A Judicial District, which includes Sampson.

“It is my hope that Judge Parsons will give me consideration for the position,” Williams stated. “My management style is simple — listen to those you serve first. Listen to those you employ second. Then, strive to fulfill the needs of both without conflict.”

Some media outlets were reportedly notified of Naylor’s impending announcement, however The Sampson Independent was excluded due to perceived unfair treatment of Naylor, sources said.

In June, The Independent broke news of the firing of former deputy clerk Chris Driver, who served as a deputy clerk for nearly four years. Driver told The Independent he was fired from his job on June 2, a day after informing Naylor of his intentions to run for Clerk of Court. He officially announced he would run for Clerk of Court the following week.

When reached at his office following Driver’s announcement in June, Naylor declined comment about the firing. A former Sampson County commissioner, Sampson Regional Medical Center trustee and Herring volunteer firefighter, Naylor ran unopposed in the November 2014 election and said in June he would seek another term in 2018.

Now, he appears to have backed off that statement, backing Williams to take up the reins in his stead.

Williams is a lifetime resident of the Vann Crossroads community of Sampson, attending Herring Elementary and Midway High School, graduating in 1969. He graduated from N.C. State University in 1973 with a Bachelor of Science in biological and agricultural engineering.

He worked with the family farming operation for a number of years, with H.N. Carr, Inc. of Clinton for a short time and then for the next 27 years with the North Carolina Farm Bureau Insurance and American Farm Bureau Insurance Services in their Crop Insurance Divisions. He served in various managerial capacities until his retirement at the end of 2014.

Since January 2015, Williams has served as district director for Congressman David Rouzer in North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District. He has also served on the advisory board for BB&T Bank, and its prior local affiliates, since 1985.

Williams has been married twice, first to Kay Lindsay of Suttontown for 25 years before her passing in 2000. In 2008, Williams married Debbie Larrick Hobbs of Lillington. Between them, they have two sons, two daughters and three grandchildren, with another granddaughter due this month.

He is a member of Hopewell United Methodist Church, serving in multiple capacities, notably as music director for more than 25 years. He hopes his next endeavor is inside the Clerk of Court’s office.

“This is probably as good an opportunity as I’ll ever have in my lifetime,” Williams said. “I’m looking forward to it, if it comes to pass.”


Naylor endorses Williams; judge must OK

By Chris Berendt

Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.

Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.