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HOLMBERG: Highly regarded Richmond Circuit Court Clerk suddenly quits

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--Just two years into his latest 8-year term, Richmond Circuit Court Clerk Bevill Dean just up and quit, rather mysteriously.

He’d served that elected post for  20 years. He shaped that vast system of records – real estate, business, marriage, criminal, civil – as well as an office known for its precision, integrity, and fairness.

“Bevill Dean has done an incredible job,” said City Council President Charles Samuels, “when it comes to moving Richmond out of an antiquated system into the 21st century. He’s the top of the state, not just the top of the region.”

Chief deputy clerk Ed Jewett – serving as clerk until a special election can be held – said Dean was “very demanding, in a good way. In a positive way. He expected you to do your job. He expected you to think ahead, he expected you to pay attention to the details, because that’s the kind of man he was.

Dean was a champion of keeping records open to the public that the law says we have a legal right to access.  “They’re not my records, they’re your records,” he was fond of saying.  The office recently completed digitizing real estate records and deeds dating back to the 1780s.”

In his resignation letter dated December 10 and effective December 31, Dean wrote that it has been his “pleasure to serve the citizens of Richmond for more than 35 years. His only explanation: “I am, however, at that juncture in my life where I am ready to explore life outside of the Courts building.”

Friends say he wants to travel, find something new at the age of 64. Maybe he fell in love. There are rumors of a possible appointment in the new governor’s administration.

Jewett is a Richmonder who, like Dean, worked his way up from the bottom of the courthouse up. By all accounts, he’s cut from the same cloth as Dean, who has been his teacher and mentor.

The election should come pretty quick.

We reached out to Bevill Dean, but didn’t hear back. He may have already embarked on his new life. Best wishes to him. He’s certainly earned them.