By John Spencer
Recently, February 29th, the community was functioning properly, doing the things they do every day, only we were in the middle of a storm that brought expected snow to our area mid-day. Around 2:00 PM it was getting kind of dangerous up at the County offices and the County CEO decided to close the offices and send everyone home. Not unusual, general public safety was a big concern.
Meanwhile, at our only local Title Company, because it was the last day of the month, the title officers were putting the final touches on some 12 escrow closures set to record that day. This wasn’t unusual, it happens all the time; our County Recorder does this same thing every month and day for that matter. These kinds of recordings are income producing, growth, a benefit to the whole community. What goes into putting together and finishing an escrow represents a huge amount of work by realtors, escrow and title officers, lending institutions, and buyers and sellers. All of this work is culminated by the Title Company to the point they bring the recordable documents into the Recorder’s office and record the transaction. This operation is probably one of the more important operations the Recorder does. The final culmination has a closure sheet where a whole host of numbers have been calculated to the penny for that moment in time. Everyone is in agreement, funds are set to be wired, people are ready to exchange house keys, and the paperwork has to record that day or everything does not work. If it is the last day of the month, it really has to record that day. If it does not record that day (and goes into the next month) everything has to be refigured, and you may have to go back to everyone to get re-approval. Re-approval may mean you can’t even do the deal, to say nothing about extra fees the bank will charge, losing a lock on your loan, penalties, and a recalculation on property taxes. When the County shut down the operation, some 12 escrows could not record. Big, big problem.
So who cares?
I’ll tell you who should care: The County Recorder.
When the County shut down and prevented these time sensitive documents from recording, some people were looking to place blame. Some think it is that mean old CEO for issuing the order to shut down the operation. The CEO knows a lot about everything, but cannot be blamed for this one. Some might say it is that darn Board of Supervisors for just going home without regard to operations. No, they know very little about each individual department. Although the Board should know some of this as the big picture, they oftentimes don’t. The Board of Supervisors can’t be blamed, but need to be made aware.
Where the blame really belongs is the County Recorder’s office. Someone should have said “hey wait a minute”, this is the last day of the month and we may have title company recordings that are time sensitive, to say nothing about the Courts or other legal documents”.
You might say “what is the reason for this diatribe”?
If no one brings these things to your attention, you won’t hear about it.
All of the Board of Sups were called, messages had to be left. One of them returned the call and apologized.
A phone message was left at the CEO’s office, the secretary called back the next day and apologized, said they would work on a fix.
The Recorder sent an apology to the Union and called with an apology. His 2nd in command said sorry I can’t help you, “the CEO’s office sent everyone home”.
Keep your eyes open folks, this economic situation doesn’t mean we have to accept substandard service. But then that is exactly what may be happening.
John Spencer is a licensed surveyor who owns Spencer Land Surveys and is a former Nevada County Supervisor living in Grass Valley.