On Election Day this March 17, Delaware County Republicans will choose between two candidates competing for the office of Delaware County Recorder.
Dana Ray (R-Galena) will challenge incumbent Melissa Jordan (R-Delaware) for a four-year-term in the position. According to the Delaware County Recorder’s website, “the recorder is responsible for indexing all real estate and personal property records for Delaware County, collecting appropriate filing fees, and Military Service Discharge records.”
Jordan has held the office since she was appointed in 2011 to fill a vacated term and was formally elected in 2012 and reelected in 2016.
Jordan said she’s running for reelection because she wants to continue to add value to the office and she enjoys the position.
“I truly enjoy serving residents in Delaware County,” Jordan said. “We’ve made incredible strides increasing deficiencies and improving services to residents in my last nine years.”
Jordan added there have been several improvements to the office during her term.
“We’ve saved taxpayers over a million dollars just by cutting office expenses and improving efficiencies,” Jordan said. “We’ve reached thousands of residents with our popular Good Deeds program where Delaware County Juvenile and Probate Court Judge David Hejmanowski and Clerk Natalie Fravel and I help residents avoid Probate Court. We’ve improved veteran access to benefits through our popular VET ID card program, something I started in 2014, and we’ve seen a 1,500% increase in veteran engagement since starting the program. I want to do continue this value added good work — and more — that is why I am seeking reelection.”
Jordan said that in her time as recorder, she has learned that Delaware County is “a great place to live and work.”
“We have an outstanding group of elected officials who work together in a transparent and cost-effective way for the benefit of the residents,” she said. “The professionalism and dedication to the community is paramount. These principles foster a government that is truly for the people. This makes it easy to coordinate with other office holders in a way that saves taxpayers money as we provide the service they deserve.”
Jordan said the county’s continued growth has created challenges for the office but believes she can overcome them if elected to another term.
“My near decade of experience running the office and making improvements, and my fiscally conservative principles, have well positioned me to have the recorder’s office ready to respond responsibly to that growth,” Jordan said. “We will be ready to guard tax dollars, while judiciously meeting the demands of the increased workflow in the office. I have ideas for further community engagement and improvements to technology to keep pace with the digital era as well. My track record of successfully implementing cost-effective improvements and programs in this office is unmatched. I will continue to do this and more, if reelected.”
Ray, owner of Liberty Search Services LLC in Powell, said she has 26 years experience in the real estate industry and working with title examinations, as well as 24 years experience working with public records, courts and offices in the county.
“As a real estate title examiner, I utilize the records daily to research real estate and help homeowners insure one of their most valuable assets,” Ray said. “I’ve been a small business owner for 14 years, and my dedication to professionalism, accuracy, and financial responsibility have made Liberty Search Services a highly successful real estate examination company. My education as a paralegal and the skills I’ve acquired over my 26-year career have prepared me to enforce the many sections of the Ohio Revised Code pertaining to the duties of the recorder’s office.”
Ray said she’s running for county recorder because she’s passionate about the job and believes she can do a better job.
“I’m running for recorder because I wish to serve the citizens of Delaware County,” Ray said. “I will work diligently to process and protect all documents, and I will preserve the integrity and accessibility of historical documents today and in the future. I will maintain complete and accurate records pertaining to the recorder’s office budget, finance, employees and agreements, as required by state laws. I am running to restore dependability, integrity and accountability to the recorder’s office.”
Ray, who has worked with the previous county recorders including Jordan, said she is frustrated with how the current recorder has handled the office.
“I would like to address the unrecorded documents discovered in 2018,” Ray said, referring to missing documents found in an employee’s desk drawer early in November 2018. Some of the rediscovered documents dated back 3 years. “These documents continue to affect the integrity of the official records and could possibly result in financial loss to parties involved.”
According to Ray, the real estate industry — title examinators, title attorneys, and title companies — is frustrated with the condition of the documents entrusted to the Delaware County Recorder’s Office.
“That’s why I have so many of them supporting me for Delaware County Recorder,” she said. “This is their livelihood, this is how they earn their money. At one point the certify date for titles was three weeks behind, but since I’ve jumped into the race, it’s now all up-to-date.”
Ray said she would bring “needed oversight and leadership” to the position.
“As recorder, I will take great care to ensure that every document is accurately filed, recorded and indexed,” Ray said. “I will maintain a presence in the office and will provide needed oversight and leadership, so accuracy and excellence is achieved. I will proudly serve the citizens of Delaware County.”
Jordan said after the unfiled documents were discovered in 2018, the employee responsible was placed on leave and ultimately resigned. She said she has taken steps and implemented policies to ensure the error doesn’t happen again.
“We immediately put the public on notice of the occurrence and began following our prosecutor’s advice in handling the situation,” Jordan said. “We are operating within the law in handling the remaining documents and cannot simply file them as my opponent has suggested. There is a legal process involved, and I choose to follow the law in handling this.”
Jordan added documents can no longer be stored in desks, and all desks are subject to random searches at her discretion.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.