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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, October 14, 2016

NorCo Recorder: E-Recording Just as Time Consuming

Though technology is supposed to make things easier and more efficient, it seems everyone is doing more. It's certainly working out that way in the Northampton County Recorder of Deeds Office. It's an 11-person office with three vacancies. But thanks in part to technological advances that may not be advances at all, Executive John Brown's proposed budget will eliminate two of these three open positions. Fiscal Affairs Director Jim Hunter said he'll take the money saved from cutting these jobs to hire another accountant. Hunter also explained that the real estate market is in the tank.  No one questioned Hunter's logic. A Deputy Recorder was there, so I assumed that the people in that department agree with him. I found out differently when I spoke to the clerks in that office.

"We need those positions," one of the clerks told me. She and several others pointed out that, though the real state market is no longer going gangbusters, like it was doing in 2006, things are busy. My own review of recordings over the past four years indicate an average of about 37,000 documents recorded per year. Though residential sales are down, the industrial market is hot.

Hunter's claim that e-recording has made life easier for clerks is also false. It's certainly true that this option has reduced foot traffic into the Recorder's Office. Title companies can simply email recordings. So it is a great convenience to them and participating attorneys and banks. But the convenience ends there. It is actually a little more time consuming to process an e-recording,clerks tell me.

Jim Hunter could learn this if he ever dropped into the office. I've never seen him there, and believe me, he's hard to miss. Almost as hard to miss as I am.

The real estate market fluctuates. Instead of the complete elimination of these positions, I'd suggest funding two of the slots at $0, so that the positions are there in case the need to fill them arises. Otherwise, County Council will have to adopt a resolution, and that is time-consuming. Also, Jim should visit the office and speak to the people who work there, and take a closer look at filling the positions.

If he did that, I'd offer to buy him lunch.

But that would be a bribe.


Anonymous said...

bleeding heart liberal cry baby county workers wwwwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa - we actually have to work - wwwwwwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Anonymous said...

Hunter has no clue, same for Brown and Cathy Allen. Council as a whole no better.
Time for voters to make changes next election!

Anonymous said...

Humans grasping to keep jobs in the face of technology. Buggy whip makers faced the same challenge. Unions kept firemen (coal shovelers) on trains long after coal engines were replaced with diesel and electric. Progress eventually marches on.

Anonymous said...

A bit of a history lesson 9:19...
While it's true that train firemen were kept on, it wasn't because the union had gotten them do-nothing jobs. The time was provided for training them on jobs that still exist. Jobs that required more skill than just using a shovel.
The firemen became conductors, brakemen, electricians, and even engineers of those trains.
Without their Unions they would have ended up in unemployment lines.

Bernie O'Hare said...

9:18, There must be something wrong with your reading comprehension. As I point out in my story, eRecording has actually increased the amount of time that it takes a clerk to record a document.

Anonymous said...

A bit of a history lesson for 10:17 ...
Firemen were still required to be on trains until 1985, 26 years after the conversion from coal. 26 years. That's a lot of retraining time.

If eRecording increased the amount of clerk time, perhaps we should go back to paper and pen.

Bernie O'Hare said...

It does take just as much time or more, but does spare the public the inconvenience of bringing the recording to the courthouse. For that reason, it is probably worth it, but it does not make the office more efficient. Jim Hunter got that wrong.

Anonymous said...

Not sure where the counties numbers are coming from, but the current real estate market in the Valley is not down, with over 1,100 more homes sold in 2016 YTD than the comparable time in 2014 and 400 more than a year ago. It's definitely not the 6,954 it was in 2006 (currently 5,922), but it shouldn't have taken the county 10 years to decide that volume wouldn't continue forever. As a point of reference the 2011 number was 3,690 home sold YTD. These numbers from Lehigh Valley Area Realtors.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have written before about the LVAR and how they skew numbers to make it look like things are going gangbusters. They count agreements of sale as homes sold. I go by the recorded deed, and the number is ALWAYS lower than represented by an outfit who is trying to create a buzz. I have written about this several times, and think it is time to do so again. The newspapers accept the data from LVAR as reality without doing any independent research.