Election 2012: Kane County Recorder
Longtime incumbent faces challenger
While many elected county offices will be filled by someone new regardless of who wins on Election Day, the race for Kane County Recorder features a longtime incumbent, Sandy Wegman, facing a challenge from Brenda Rogers.
After spending the last 12 years as Kane County Recorder, Wegman said she is looking to continue her track record of continual improvements and upgrades while remaining budget conscious.
“Having played a vital role in the design and development of our land records systems, I am seeking re-election because I want to ensure that the system stays in place and new technologies are implemented along the way,” Wegman said.
She pointed to her past accomplishments as reasons why she deserves another term in office. She said she has streamlined the office, consolidated services and implemented new technology, all while staying within budget. She currently serves as President of the Illinois Association of County Clerks & Recorders (Zone IV), a leadership position she feels is an example of the success she has brought to her role.
“In a time when we are required to do more with less, I have a proven track record of implementing improvements that benefit the taxpayers of Kane County,” she said.
The Recorder’s Office is solely fee-funded, Wegman explained, meaning that the office is funded entirely by the fees it charges and not with tax dollars. She said it is vital that the office remains within budget each year, and this would continue to be her number-one priority.
Being able to do more with less means finding new ways to accomplish tasks, and that means utilizing new technology as it becomes available, she said.
“The Recorder’s Office is one of the most technologically advanced offices at the county,” she said. “It is important to provide the necessary upgrades that will allow our technology not to become dated so that we can continue to provide the services that are expected by the users.”
She also is focused on completing the rewrite of the office’s Land Records System.
“This will allow us to take advantage of new technologies that will make the system easier to support, upgrade and use,” she said.
Overall, Wegman said the goal of the office is to provide better service while using fewer resources. She said that the past 12 years show she knows how to accomplish that.
“Under my leadership, the Recorder’s Office has always come in under budget,” she said.
She said that streamlining the office has been an ongoing project, evidenced by the fact that Recorder’s Office staff has been reduced from 33 to 19. At the same time, the office has improved its ability to serve the public, she said.
“Through innovative technology which allows e-recording of documents and instant return of documents, the Recorder’s Office has reduced the flow of paper, which eliminates the cost of postage and allows for immediate access to data and/or images,” Wegman said.
Rogers would not only focus on the task of recording documents and utilizing new technology, she said she would also do so while spending extra effort protecting the public’s identity from identity thieves and offering public seminars to raise awareness as well.
She said that as she has met more people from the county, she realized that many people were not even aware of the office of Kane County Recorder, nor what its responsibilities are.
“So, as the recorder, I will go that extra mile by doing educational seminars that will include explaining to our residents the duties of the recorder. I will do foreclosure and identity theft prevention seminars, as well as indexing documents,” Rogers said.
While she agrees that utilizing new technology is vital, it must be done so responsibly.
“Protecting our resident’s privacy by removing their signatures from documents that are online (is a priority),” Rogers said. “Having their signature online is a way for individuals to steal their signature, and it is one of the first steps of identity theft.”
She said that closely watching the budget and utilizing technology to reduce costs are important, and her 20-year background as a Realtor gives her the experience she needs to do so.
“I believe my background as a Realtor is helpful to the position,” Rogers said. “I have experience working with multi-million dollar budgets. I have been a Realtor for over 20 years, and as a Realtor I have had the opportunity to work with first-time buyers, those moving up, empty-nesters and developers. And since the office deals with documents related to ownership of property, I believe I am the best candidate for the position.”
Rogers said that her efforts would go beyond the traditional office hours; she plans to spend extra time with the public helping educate them and raise their awareness of issues that should be important to them.
“Many employers have asked their employees to do more with less, and the recorder should do the same,” Rogers said. “I believe that we have to give the residents value by going above and beyond for them. As the recorder, I will be in the office during the day and in the community in the evening doing educational seminars for them. I will have an open dialogue with the users of the office and the residents of the county.”
She said she would plan quarterly educational seminars that will include foreclosure prevention and identity theft prevention. She said the office’s website would have a question-and-answer section, and she would stay abreast of new technology. All of this would be focused on providing more services for less cost, while at the same time protecting the public.
“Next to your family, your property is your most valued possession, and I want to protect it for you,” she said.