Barbara Morris wasn’t quite ready to leave her post as Catawba County clerk after 16 years. After training her replacement, Karina Zamora, she knows she left the right person for the task.
Morris hopes like herself and some clerks before her, Zamora will turn the position into a career and stick with the county through years of recording county meetings, preparing information for county leaders and watching county business unfold.
Morris, now 65, first became the county clerk after leaving a 20-year career as a litigation paralegal. The then-county manager asked her personally to consider the role. It turned out to be a perfect fit, Morris said.
She watched the county grow, projects move forward and county leaders, namely the Catawba County Board of Commissioners, make decisions to shape the county.
“You get this front row seat of how much thought and consideration and caring is put in by the board and the management team and by all county employees. I get to see all of that,” Morris said.
The clerk is there for every meeting, crafts each agenda, writes resolutions and keeps track of public records.
The economic development decisions county leaders make have enthralled Morris, she said. In recent years, she watched county leaders entice businesses to set up shop and call Catawba County home. The Trivium Corporate Center is one project Morris is particularly impressed by, she said.
“It’s just recently watching the economic development effort that always amazes me,” she said. “How they encourage people to come here and offer these great opportunities.”
Morris’ last day was Friday after 10 days training Zamora. Morris was nervous to retire and a little sad to leave, but Zamora made her confident, Morris said.
“For months now people have said, ‘Are you excited?’ and I had very mixed feelings,” Morris said. “I like what I do, I like the people I work with and I wasn’t that excited. But I realized … I am getting excited after working with Karina over the last 10 days. I’m happy because (Zamora) is already part of the team and I’m leaving my friends and family with the best person for the job.”
Zamora is ready to take on the job, and excited to experience what Morris did, she said.
Zamora comes from a public health background, first with the Burke County Health Department, then nine years with Catawba County Public Health, she said. She is drawn to working in the public sector to help improve her community, Zamora said.
“Helping people is my passion,” Zamora said. “It’s a passion for helping my community and helping people. Now we’re all a big team helping Catawba County — our community, our people. Ultimately it’s our county that’s my passion.”
Zamora’s administrative experience in public health will help her in her new position, she said. She’s happy to be chosen to fill Morris’ shoes.
“It’s a pleasure for me to have been chosen and appointed and I’m looking forward to everything,” Zamora said. “It’s a great opportunity and I’m truly honored to be part of the county and to be a part of the team.”
Morris is confident Zamora will be a positive addition to the county’s team.
“She’s going to make it her own, she’s going to grow it and I think it’s going to be great for her and the county,” Morris said.