Delaware County Recorder Melissa Jordan (R-Delaware) is asking the voters of Delaware County for a third term in her current role. While earning the endorsement of the Delaware County Republican Party, Jordan faces at least two newcomers, Carolee Conklin (R-Ashley) and Dana Ray (R-Galena).
Jordan, who was appointed in January 2011 to a vacated unexpired term, was first elected to a full four-year term in 2012. Her current term expires Jan. 1, 2021.
The recorder is responsible for indexing all real estate and personal property records, collecting appropriate filing fees, and military service discharge records.
Since becoming county recorder, Jordan has completed various projects aimed at improving the office. She has also dealt with some scrutiny after 30 unrecorded documents were discovered in an employee’s desk drawer — some dating back three years prior.
At that time, Jordan said she was making a “very intentional effort to find a logical way to rectify” the situation.
“It’s my office. I take full responsibility for this,” she said at that time about the documents found Oct. 19, 2018. “I think in an office of any size, people are going to make decisions that can’t be anticipated. It’s the way you handle and respond to the situation that is important.”
Included in what Jordan called a handful of documents were affidavits, certificates, deeds, liens, mortgages and transfers.
Looking back today, Jordan said, “I’m not afraid to start, and I’m not afraid to fail — that’s how you grow.”
As for her accomplishments while in office, Jordan has and continues to upgrade the recorder’s office technology to give county residents greater access to public records, all the while maintaining a fiscally responsible budget.
“Right after I took office, the contract for our software service was expiring,” she said. “I asked for a brief extension and went through the RFP (Request For Proposals) process. I selected a vendor that allowed me to increase the digitization of records and save tax dollars.”
Jordan said over the life of the three-year contract, the taxpayers saved approximately $100,000.
“On average, I have been operating the office on roughly 7% less than prior recorders, even those of a decade earlier,” she said. “Ultimately, the contract does, in part, contribute to the savings. It’s important to be a guardian of tax dollars.”
In 2017, Jordan began the historical back-scanning project that now allows residents to view property deeds online by clicking on the “historical indexes” tab on the recorder’s search page.
“You can now search all deeds from the beginning of Delaware County forward, even when the recorder was handwriting them into the book,” she said. “Once the document is found, you can click on it and print it.”
Jordan said in 2012, she implemented Property Check, a free notification service to alert Delaware County residents, via text or email, that a document is filed against a property.
“Mortgage and property fraud are on the rise,” she said. “It hasn’t happened in Delaware County, but it has happened in Ohio. Property Check is triggered by an indexed name, so if anybody files a new false deed under the indexed name, it sends an email or text warning to the property owner.”
County residents can sign up for the service online through the recorder’s county web page.
Jordan was one of the first recorders in the state to initiate the Veterans ID card program in 2014, and she has seen an increase in the number of DD214 filings for safe-keeping rise from about 20 filings annually to close to 2,000 filings in the past five years since the program was started.
“It’s not a compulsory filing, but the reason it’s important is a veteran needs that DD214 or their NGB Form 22 if they are a National Guardsman or woman to prove their honorable discharge status and military service,” she said. “It’s used to get home loans, educational loans, and all kinds of things.”
Jordan said if a veteran loses his or her discharge paperwork, it is very difficult to obtain a certified copy.
“Once the discharge is filed, we keep a certified copy on file, and the veteran gets a card to carry with them,” she said. “It’s not just about safeguarding your records, but it’s about memorializing service for the following generations.”
This year at the Delaware County Fair, the Jordan’s office issued over 40 cards to veterans. After Jordan addressed over 600 veterans and their families Sept. 20 at the annual Operation Forever Grateful dinner on the importance of filing their DD214s, Jordan saw a surge in DD214 filings in the weeks following the fair.
Working with Court of Common Pleas Probate/Juvenile Division Judge David Hejmanowski and Clerk of Courts Natalie Fravel, Jordan also travels the county informing residents, city workers, and other groups on how to avoid the probate process with respect to real property and titled vehicles through the Good Deeds project.
Since starting Good Deeds, the team has held two workshops for its counterparts in other counties across Ohio on “How to Start a Good Deeds Project.”
Jordan said she is already working on new ideas for her upcoming term to continue to improve the functions of the office, and improve access and outreach, while remaining fiscally responsible with the taxpayers’ dollars.
To learn more about Jordan, visit https://www.facebook.com/RecorderMJordan/ on Facebook.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.