Byron’s Record of Accomplishments
Caring for Families
As Register of Wills, Byron’s top priority has been to provide Howard County families with professional, efficient, compassionate service when they’ve lost a loved one. He understands how difficult the passing of a family member is and how confusing probate can be, so he has hired and trained a team of experienced and understanding staff members whose goal is to make this process as quick and easy as possible. Byron replaced the rigid and dismissive “that’s how it’s always been done” mentality of the past with an innovative, solutions-oriented attitude toward public service.
Under Byron’s leadership, the office of the Register of Wills has become known as being very user-friendly, focused on creating a supportive and reassuring experience for people in need of assistance. His staff walk family members through the probate process step by step and try to make what can feel like an overwhelming system relatively simple and manageable. When you call or visit the office, you speak with a staff member directly with no appointment necessary. Byron wants to make sure that every Howard County family knows that when they need help, he and his office are always there for them.
Vote to re-elect Byron so that he can continue providing excellent care and service to the people of Howard County.
◎ ◎ ◎ ◎ ◎
Engaging the Community
Byron has worked to make his office and its services visible and accessible by fostering strong ties with members of the Howard County community. Having a Last Will and Testament is very important and understanding the basics about probate is very helpful for families thinking about estate planning, so Byron has made community outreach a hallmark of his tenure as Register.
He’s spoken at every Howard County senior center and library, meets with civic organizations and church groups, conducts a free lecture every semester at Howard Community College, and hosts a booth at the popular 50+ Expo every year. Byron has developed a collaborative working relationship with local attorneys, ensuring that they are kept up to date with procedural changes and new laws impacting the public. He also volunteers in our elementary schools, serving as a guest judge each year in the Simulated Congressional Hearings program, where 5th graders learn about the founding of America and the importance of civic duty.
Vote to re-elect Byron so he can continue to be a visible and reassuring presence in the community, sharing the importance of having a Will and explaining how probate works to Howard County residents.
◎ ◎ ◎ ◎ ◎
Byron has been recognized as an innovative, tech-savvy leader, who has taken an atrophied courthouse office and turned it into a modern model of efficiency. When he came into office in 2010, the existing staff wasn’t using e-mail, was issuing receipts in carbon paper triplicate, and was using an audio cassette player to record court proceedings. Byron immediately began implementing a transition plan to address a stockpile of obsolete equipment, a massive backlog of paper files, and mountains of old records collecting dust.
During this transition, he made huge strides modernizing the office, employing new technologies and practices that allow his staff members to serve Howard County families with more efficiency and flexibility. Derelict equipment has been disposed of, thousands of old files and fragile historic documents have been properly archived, and unreliable office equipment has been upgraded. Most of the functions of the Register’s office are now conducted electronically, reducing the time spent on administrative tasks and enabling staff members to spend more time serving the public directly.
One of Byron’s proudest technological achievements was the successful implementation of a system to allow the public to access probate records online. Up until a few years ago, if someone wanted to see these records, they had to either visit the courthouse or mail the Register’s office a printed request with a check and a self-addressed, stamped return envelope. Byron led the initiative to move away from this time-consuming, dated approach and thanks to his leadership, these vital historical records are now available online with the click of a button. This is just one of many of his endeavors to increase transparency and serve the public with the efficiency and ease they deserve.
Vote to re-elect Byron so that he and his staff can continue to stay on the cutting edge of technological advances and further refine their policies and practices to better serve the residents of Howard County.
◎ ◎ ◎ ◎ ◎
Leading on Reform
As Register, Byron has been a persistent leader for reform. In 2010, he took office after unseating a 24-year incumbent who had let this vital office atrophy. He conducted a top to bottom review of the office’s policies and procedures, closely scrutinizing everything from technology to finances. As a result, Byron has instituted nearly 200 procedural improvements to increase efficiency and adopt best practices. This effort resulted in his office receiving a perfect audit from the state of Maryland in 2015, demonstrating Byron’s steady, effective leadership as Register of Wills.
Byron served as President of the Maryland Register of Wills Association from 2013 to 2016, representing the 24 Registers from every jurisdiction in the state. Byron led his colleagues to adopt uniform procedures and advocate for legislation to make probate in Maryland faster, fairer, and less expensive. He’s brought stakeholders together to enact reforms that allow more estates to be administered through a more streamlined, efficient process, that increase allowances for surviving spouses and for funeral expenses, and that clarify ambiguities to make sure families don’t fall through the legal cracks. Byron pushed to scrap on old rule that required sending some notices by certified mail which has saved Marylanders over $250,000. Preparing for the eventual adoption of e-filing, Byron also spearheaded an initiative that reduced paper records by over 90%, saving taxpayer dollars on expensive and tedious record management.
Vote to re-elect Byron so he can continue to be a leader for reforms that make probate faster, fairer, and less expensive for Howard County families.