Davidson County Manager Casey Smith presents Debbie Harris with the Howard Holly Outstanding Clerk Award. Commissioners pictured, left to right, are Steve Shell, Don Truell, Todd Yates, James Shores, Karen Watford, Fred McClure and Chris Elliott.

DAVIDSON COUNTY — At an annual conference, Davidson County Clerk Debbie Harris was presented with a significant award on behalf of her peers in the state’s 99 other counties.

Last week, the Davidson County Board of Commissioners recognized one of their own at its final regular April meeting for her honor and exemplary service. Harris was named clerk of the year during the North Carolina Association of County Clerks Annual Conference, which was held virtually this year.

Recipient of the 2019 Howard Holly Outstanding Clerk of the Year Award, Harris received the most adulation from board members.

County Manager Casey Smith said the county officials kept the honor a secret from her until they could present her with a token of their appreciation.

“I kept it a secret as long as I could. She got clerk of the year through the association and we’ve had our attorney win attorney of the year, so I think I’m the last one who hasn’t won,” Smith joked. “This was well deserved.”

Harris has worked for Davidson County for 18 years. Along with being the clerk to the board of county commissioners, she is also a paralegal. She has served on numerous committees over the years and is a member of the association’s board of directors. She has held the offices of secretary, treasurer, and this year will be vice president of the association.

Harris has achieved the status of master municipal clerk through the International Institute of Municipal Clerks. She has also achieved the designation of North Carolina Master County Clerk through the North Carolina Association of County Clerks.

The Howard Holly Outstanding Clerk Award is presented in recognition of accomplishments superior to accepted standards and distinguished continuing contributions to county government in North Carolina.

Commissioner James Shores offered that as the newest member of the board, he requests help from Harris to catch him up on information he needs to effectively do his job. In so doing, he said Harris has been invaluable to his transition as commissioner.

“I’m new, and obviously I don’t always know everything I’m supposed to know,” Shores said. “I can call on [Debbie] at any time. You always get me on the straight and narrow path. Even when it’s the last minute and I can’t get into a [North Carolina Association of County Commissioners] meeting, you take care of it. I appreciate you very much. Thank you very much for what you do for this county.”

Yates thanked Harris on behalf of himself and residents of the county, and the other commissioners did the same, lauding her ability to manage copious amounts of information and assist in the operations of the county.

Commissioner Steve Shell told a story about unknowingly interrupting Harris at a clerks convention to ask a question about an item that appeared on the county’s agenda six months prior to the convention. He praised Harris’s efficiency, acknowledging her ability to recount pertinent details upon request.

“I apologized and said, ‘I’m sorry, Debbie. I didn’t know you were there,’ ” Shell said. “She said, ‘What’s your question? Maybe I can answer it real quick.’ I said I doubt it, because I wanted you to pull the agenda and tell me exactly what took place on this issue. She quoted it, right there, quoted exactly what was on the agenda, what we had discussed.

“I thought, man, if the Lord had only given me that recall.”

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at