Volunteer, equipment help recorder take a load off

LISBON – A 10-month backlog of documents needing processed by the Columbiana County Recorder’s Office could be eliminated by the end of the month, thanks to some volunteer help and equipment.

Recorder Theresa Bosel said the Lorain County recorder donated three of its advanced computer work stations for use, while Cott Systems – the company that supplies the information management software program for her office – sent an employee and document scanning machines to assist.

“All this for free,” she said. “It’s amazing what help you can get when you ask.”

Bosel, who took office in January, said she was faced with a backlog of documents dating back to July that need recorded, mostly due to the shale gas leasing frenzy underway in the county, and little money to address the problem.

Bosel started by bringing back employee Matt Plegge, who was laid off last September due to budget issues, and hiring Amy Roessler, which brings her staff to five.

Lorain County Recorder Judy Nedwick, whom Bosel knows, offered to provide three computer work stations for free and for as long as they are needed. Bosel said these advanced systems have more functions, allowing her staff to process and record documents much quicker. Nedwick’s IT person helped set up the systems

Meanwhile, Cott Systems also provided two $18,000 scanners and an employee to help the office get caught up, all for free.

The end result of all this is the recorder’s office could become current on documents by April.

“If we want to ensure the people are getting documents back in a timely manner then things have to change,” Bosel said, adding Nedwick is allowing her to keep the advanced work stations until they are no longer needed, which should help the office remain current until the leasing frenzy subsides.

Bosel’s actions could result in a grievance being filed by the union representing her workers. Union official Edward Bedocs wrote to Bosel that “outsourcing the scanning of documents to Cott” violates a contract provision requiring work be performed by bargaining-unit members.

Bedocs indicated such a grievance could be avoided if Bosel signed an agreement with the union stating that allowing Cotts to help scan documents does not mean the workers are waiving their right to do the work under the contract. Bosel indicated she is reluctant to sign such an agreement because of the possible future ramifications.

“I want to work with the staff, but I have a job to do,” she said. “I need them to work with me on this. I need them to understand this is only temporary. We’re 10 months behind and we need to get caught up, and we’re able to do this at no cost to the county,” Bosel said.