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Op-ed: S.L. County recorder has led way on innovation, efficiency

By Julie Dole

First Published Aug 08 2014 02:58 pm • Last Updated Aug 08 2014 03:37 pm

Most people do not understand the importance of the county recorder’s office. The recorder’s office is charged with recording all documents pertaining to real property. This is the office that protects your property ownership and safeguards the title to your home. I am amazed at how efficient and helpful the Salt Lake County Recorder’s Office is. It is no wonder that Gary Ott, Salt Lake County Recorder, was selected from many other entries as the 2014 Best of State Elected Official for innovations he made in his office.

Gary Ott became the Salt Lake County Recorder in 2001. Through the use of technology and attrition, Gary has done more to modernize the recorder’s office than any previous recorder. He was the first in the state and nation to implement digital recording. He cut the budget by approximately 37 percent, made the office more efficient, and right-sized the staff, reducing the number of staff by half, all through attrition.

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One of the first things Gary did as recorder was protect our historical documents, placing them in an atmospherically controlled, protected vault, and began digitizing all documents. He also took a very expensive website and made it cost-neutral by having those who use it pay for it, rather than having you the citizens who don’t use it pay for it. More importantly, he did this while protecting your personal information. Having subscribers to the website not only keeps the average citizen from paying for the website, but it prevents everyone in the world from having the ability to Google your personal information, such as your address, social security number, birth date and financial information.

The recorder’s office records documents. The office doesn’t create documents. If mistakes are made, it is usually by the entity creating the document. One of the innovations, Gary has brought to the office was directing his IT staff to develop software (OCR) that scans for errors. Since most documents are received and scanned in real time, the errors can now be discovered and title companies or other entities contacted to correct errors prior to recording.

Another innovation Gary brought was having his IT staff create a program whereby notarized copies can be transmitted digitally.

Currently 60 percent of all documents to be recorded in the Salt Lake County Recorder’s Office are received digitally. This office records the most documents in the state and is second in the nation only to Maricopa County, Ariz., in the number of documents recorded. I am constantly amazed at how seamless and effortlessly our staff handles this task. This is due to the technology Gary has brought to the office.

Gary has plans to continue to modernize the office and as your county recorder will continue to do so.

Gary is a proven fiscal conservative. His philosophy is to treat your tax dollars the same as he treats his own money.

It is no wonder that with Gary’s philosophy of protecting taxpayers’ dollars, his pioneering spirit in technology and innovations he has brought to his office that he was chosen as the 2014 Best of State Winner for elected officials. Gary Ott exemplifies the type of elected official we want to keep in office.

Julie Dole is the Salt Lake County Chief Deputy Recorder. She has a master’s degree from the University of Utah, and she has served as Salt Lake County Republican Party chair.

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