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For nearly two decades, Danny Smith climbed the ranks in the Baltimore City Circuit Court from a file clerk in the Juvenile Division to the assignment commissioner. During his tenure, Smith served under three Clerks of the Court, including Frank Conaway Sr., who held the position for nearly 17 years before passing away in office in 2015.

In 2018, Smith threw his hat into the ring, ultimately losing to current Clerk of the Court, Marilyn F. Bentley, and retiring shortly thereafter.

Since his departure, Smith said the clerk’s office has fallen into deep disarray under the current administration—a situation he hopes will change as unofficial election results point toward Xavier A. Conaway, Frank Conaway Sr.’s grandson, as Bentley’s successor.

“I compare things to my managerial style and mine was that when you have good people, you take care of them,” said Smith, who recalled dozens of seasoned employees departing from the clerk’s office during Bentley’s tenure after an alleged decline in morale and functionality. “It should also be a process of inclusion, not exclusion, and giving them the tools necessary in order for them to do the job and complete that task.”

Smith, who continues to stay in contact with his former colleagues in the courthouse, said there are currently several vacant positions in the clerk’s division, including chief deputy clerk and assistant chief deputy clerk.

Maryland Judiciary Public Information officers Bradley Tanner and Terri Charles did not respond to Baltimore Witness to confirm the number of vacancies.

Read more at Baltimore Witness.

Andrew Michaels is a journalist with Baltimore Witness, a website that marries journalism with transparency with data. Its goal is to bring transparency to the Baltimore Criminal Justice system.