Short-staffed county clerk navigates increased demand for services
The intense growth of the last year and simultaneous labor shortage has clashed in Grand County, something that weighs on local services.
The Grand County Clerk’s Office sits at the intersection of these two issues. Last week, County Clerk Sara Rosene shared a comparison of e-recording fees with commissioners from January to May to demonstrate the growth.
In 2019, 3,755 documents were recorded. In 2020, despite the shutdown in March, 3,811 documents were recorded over the same period. This year through May, on the other hand, 5,847 documents have been recorded.
“That volume has just been huge,” Rosene said, explaining the records include things like real estate sales. “It started last year and it just hasn’t stopped.”
The clerk’s office also does titles for recreational vehicles and trailers, and Rosene said last year saw a big uptick for snowmobiles, ATVs, UTVs, campers and more. As for regular vehicles, sales never slowed down even though the pandemic.
Rosene’s office has been doing all of this while short four employees of the 12-person staff. She has since hired a new staff member, but the office is still operating at 75% capacity.
One place numbers have not picked up is on the driver license side of things. Rosene has reduced services in that area due to the lack of employees.
The clerk’s office started doing some licensing services a few years ago when the state office closed. While the county clerk’s office does not provide all licensing services, it is one of only a few Colorado government offices that do drive tests, something Rosene wants to keep because it’s the only local option for new drivers in Grand County.
It is not a statutory responsibility for the county clerk to issue driver’s licenses, which is why Rosene has rolled back those offerings.
“We don’t do it five days a week because we just don’t have the staff for it right now,” Rosene explained.
As for items required to be completed by Colorado law, like real estate recordings, her short-staffed office goes until it’s done.
“We work a lot of hours to try to get it done,” Rosene said. “We don’t end the day without all of that complete.”
County commissioners have approved Rosene’s plan to use a portion of her vacancy savings to help recruit more workers. The clerk is hopeful that the increased salary will help draw more employees.
“I’m hoping once we get that out there that that will make a difference,” she said.
The county clerk is not alone in difficulties to recruit.
According to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, 303 job openings were advertised online in Grand County as of Saturday. YMCA of the Rockies, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, Alterra Mountain Company, Ace Hardware and Sun Communities had the largest number of openings.
Across the county, many businesses are hiring. Like Rosene, some are altering services or hours to manage the demand while increasing pay with the hopes of drawing more workers.
The county clerk added that she is grateful for the continued patience of residents.
“I would like to thank our residents in Grand County because generally people understand,” Rosene said. “We have a great team that is doing their best to get things done and we really get a lot of support from our community, so I really appreciate that.”
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COVID-19 deaths in Grand County have reached double digits with three more in the last seven days.