WELLSBORO - Tioga County residents wanting to get a passport to travel overseas will have to travel to Westfield and file an application at the U.S. Post Office there unless the Department of State reinstates the prothonotary's office and the new county prothonotary may be certified to accept them.
Former Prothonotary Mary Kay Clark was certified to handle passports. Clark was defeated in the Nov. 5 general election by a clerk in her office, Marie Y. Seymour, and has been out of the office since Dec. 20, the last day the office processed passports.
Seymour is not certified to handle passport applications.
According to Tioga County Commissioner Roger Bunn, Seymour received a letter last week from the Department of State office in Philadelphia, notifying her that the prothonotary's office no longer would be allowed to process the applications.
Bunn said any passport applications received at the office through Dec. 20 have been processed. The passport application service at the courthouse has been offered as a courtesy to residents, he said, but is not required by law.
Bunn said the commissioners have requested that the office be reinstated to accept passport applications. Seymour will have to be certified before the service may be reinstated.
He also said that the action by Clark, who acted independently in her communications to the Department of State without notifying commissioners, was appropriate because she was an elected official not under their authority.
He could not say if passport application processing definitely will be offered at the prothonotary's office.
The oath of office for Seymour and other newly elected county officials will be given Monday at the courthouse by District Judge Rob Repard.