Karen “Toni” O’Bier Allison
There will be at least two candidates on the ballot for Clerk of Circuit in Northumberland County in November. Last week. Karen O’Bier Allison, known as Toni, announced that she would run for the office. Incumbent clerk Debbie Bingham, who has been in office since January when she was elevated to the office due to the retirement of Linda Mason, had already announced she would seek the position in November’s special election.
Friday night, Allison, met with a crowd of about 40 people who were attending the Northumberland County Political Caucus which is primarily made up of local Republicans and told them her plans. She said Monday that she was gratified by her reception.
Allison, who is the daughter of Butch and Margaret Anne O’Bier of Callao, went through her undergraduate schooling in Northumberland County and then went to Rappahannock Community College and later earned a certificate as a paralegal from Old Dominion University. Other than working at Callao Supermarket while in high school, she has spent her working life in the law. In 1990 she went to work for Smith, Murphy and Taliaferro, a Warsaw law firm where now-judge Michael McKenney was employed. When McKenney became Northumberland County’s commonwealths attorney, he brought Allison with him to be his administrative assistant. She has remained in the position since McKenney’s elevation to the bench and Jane Wrightson’s becoming Commonwealths Attorney.
In her work in the Commonwealths Attorneys office since 1996, Allison has been responsible for helping prepare criminal cases for trial in the circuit court, general district and juvenile courts. She prepares the criminal dockets for those courts and the criminal trials with the commonwealths attorney. Allison said last week that she has assisted in matters ranging from hunting violations to first degree murder trials, to hearings on restoration of driving privileges and civil rights. Monday she noted that she deals with every single felony case that ultimately reaches the circuit court as they pass through the general district court, or, in the case of direct indictments, they are readied for presentation to grand juries by the commonwealths attorney.
In the case of the area’s multi-jurisdictional grand jury, Allison serves as its clerk.
Allison noted that during her years with Smith, Murphy and Taliaferro in Warsaw she worked with wills and trusts, deeds and deeds of trust, estate accountings and civil cases all of which require filings with the circuit court. Allison said she hopes to use her experience to make the circuit court clerk’s office more productive and serviceable to the public. She noted that she intends to make greater use of technology and improve and modernize the recording system for real estate transactions.
Allison is married to Joey Allison and they have two children, a girl 12 and a boy nine. They attend Bethany Baptist Church in Callao.
The election in November is for the two years remaining on Booth’s eight year term.