Interview with Jack Arrowsmith Douglas County Colorado Recorder
Extract: What effect has the weather and flooding had statewide for Clerks and Recorders?
Arrowsmith: Many of our Counties were affected by flooding and several counties, including Boulder and Larimer, were closed for a day or two. Those clerks did a terrific job and resumed normal business in a very short period of time. There were numerous clerks and staff members that were working in their offices while trying to recover from flooding that had impacted their personal residences. What a dedicated group of folks we have in Colorado. We still have communities trying to rebuild roads and the Colorado Department of Transportation projects that all Colorado roads will be passable by December 1st.Q: What are the top challenges facing Recorders and other keepers of the public record today.
Preserving Records: The cost to preserve and protect historical records is extremely high and funds for this specific purpose are difficult to come by. Each year we try to do a little more in this area, but there is still much to do.
Technology Costs: Not only the cost to purchase technology, but the annual licensing costs are also escalating at a rate faster than increases to local government budgets.
Transparency vs. Security Concerns: We see a much larger demand to make ALL recorded records public and there are good reasons to make much of these records public. At the same time we see law enforcement and others not wanting these records to be public and finding balance will be a problem now and in the future.
Extract: You recently stepped down as president of NACRC. How is NACRC supporting administrative officials in leveraging technology in their roles?
Arrowsmith: NACRC is a wonderful organization and certainly has helped me personally in a number of ways. It provided me with training and education for many of the hats I wear as clerk, including the areas of recording, elections and my role as clerk to the board. It has been a clearing house of legislation both locally and nationally and certainly gives me an “early warning” to legislation that might be headed to Colorado.
Conferences give me the opportunity to connect with peers across the county and share ideas and solutions to common problems. Many of these folks have seen similar challenges and developed great solutions. The fact that others have similar problems can be a comfort in itself.
Extract: Tell us about a regular day for the Douglas County Recorder.
Arrowsmith: I’m not sure any day can ever be considered “regular.” We can be looking for old patents, issuing Parks Passes and Passports, emailing copies, searching for documents, recording documents, issuing marriage and civil union certificates. Plus our recording office does an outstanding job supporting our other divisions. They scan mortgage documents for the Motor Vehicle Division and pitch in to assist with elections. Currently two of our recording clerks also fill in with “Clerk to the Board” duties when our current Deputy Clerk to the Board is unavailable. This in addition to recording an average of approximately 450 documents a day.
Extract: Colorado is a ballot by mail state – does that have any impact in your role as Recorder?
Arrowsmith: Infrequently elections uses a recorded document for signature verification, but generally there is not a significant impact.
Extract: How do counties protect sensitive information within the e-recording process?
Arrowsmith: We only receive electronic documents from trusted business partners. In addition (in Douglas County) these documents must meet the PRIA XML standards, but generally they are treated much like a document submitted in paper.
Extract: Douglas County is a growing area. How is the Recorder’s office keeping pace with that growth?
Arrowsmith: e-Recording has averaged about 70% of our recorded documents and this has been a terrific tool to keep up with growth. In addition, Douglas County has been blessed with good financial stability. While budgets have been tight, we have been able to get good support from our County Commissioners and they have been willing to invest in the recording office and meet many of our budgetary needs.
Extract: What do you love about your area of Colorado?
Arrowsmith: I really love living in Douglas County Colorado. While centrally located between Colorado Springs and Denver, we really provide an oasis on the front range. Lifestyles range from very urban to rural and everything in between. While rural life is an important part of our heritage, we also offer our citizens all the amenities of city life. Professionally, we have a wonderful culture at Douglas County and have a really great balance between being fiscally responsible and striving to provide a very high level of customer service. The Douglas County Clerk and Recorder Mission Statement is: Serving with Integrity - Exceeding Expectations.
About the Author: Greg Gies
For 20 years in the software industry, Greg Gies has been helping businesses, government agencies and healthcare organizations achieve their goals and carry out their missions by making better use of information and automating business processes. Greg has held positions in sales, product management and marketing and holds an MBA from Babson College.