The Examiner has dedicated several months to the discussion of technology’s impact on our industry, whether real or imagined. This discussion will continue and change is something we all have to accept whether we want to or not. Often times, we cast the impact as negative. In fact, in one of our prior articles I clearly stated that I feel certain aspects of these changes are detrimental. I worry that speed is being traded for quality. However, there are some areas where technology has had an obvious positive net result. One of those places is in the Fairfax County Land Records office.
Fairfax County is one of the leading counties in embracing technology. The County has been e-recording for over three years and at one time had its own e-filing system. E-filing volume increases year over year and this will likely continue. I spent some time discussing the matter with Gerarda Culipher, who is the Chief Deputy Clerk of Fairfax County. I asked her how the last few years have been with the onset of e-filing. Ms. Culipher indicated that the process has been smooth. Even as volume increases the records office has managed to stay ahead of the curve and keep up with demand. In fact, the use of e-recording has had a not-so-obvious benefit. The demands on the staff have shifted with the increase in e-recording, which allows employees to cross-train and learn other parts of the office. Now the employees are more versatile. This has led to increased employer satisfaction because each employee can do more. It has also led to increased employee satisfaction because there are more chances to engage in the process and to learn new things.
Ms. Culipher and I also discussed the use of e-notaries. While she understands the debate around the veracity of the e-notary process, it has had little direct impact on the land records daily function. Fairfax County sees it as a distinction without difference. The Commonwealth created the law and Fairfax is doing its part to serve the community under that guidance.
Ms. Culipher illustrated how technology has made her department a better functioning part of local government. Maybe technology isn’t so bad after all…