Utah County commissioners Bill Lee and Amelia Powers Gardner sparred on Wednesday over a proposal to add 17 full-time positions to the Utah County Recorder’s Office staffing plan.

The proposal would allow the Recorder’s Office, which maintains and indexes real estate property documents, to hire six employees doing “true recording,” seven employees mapping and two employees working in customer service.

During Wednesday’s commission meeting, County Recorder Andrea Allen said her office currently has a 34-employee staffing plan. Gardner, former Utah County Clerk/Auditor pointed out that the Recorder’s Office had 36 employees before the 2008 recession.

“So 15 years later, we’ve grown by 30% as a county, and you have less employees now than you did then,” she said.

Gardner said she looked at the staffing levels at recorder’s offices in Weber, Davis and Salt Lake counties, “and you look at the numbers of documents that they record and the number of staffers they have, that it would actually justify us hiring 20 employees.”

Allen told the commissioners that the understaffed Recorder’s Office has other functions “that have been put on a lower priority that still need to be done,” including indexing years and years of documents that are not indexed,” as well as documents from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“And it needs to be indexed so that it is user-friendly so that people don’t have to come into our office to look at the old books,” said Allen. “We’ve got the data, but we don’t have the personnel to get it indexed to get it online to where it is useable.”

But Commissioner Lee said he wanted more time to analyze Recorder’s Office data to see if the staffing increase would be necessary, adding that he would prefer the county take it as a “step” rather than hiring the full 17 employees.

Commissioner Sakievich said he would be comfortable passing the staffing plan change, but Lee said he would vote against it until he had more information.

“It’s hard for me to make a decision on things when I get half the information,” he said.

Gardner tried to make a motion to approve the change, noting that “I did my own analysis on Friday night, so I’ve seen that information, so I feel comfortable voting on it.”

Sakievich made a counter-motion to continue the agenda item to next week’s meeting to allow for more review.

“I’m comfortable with it as is, but I’d prefer to have all three of us have more detail if possible,” Sakievich said.

Gardner and Allen both objected to delaying the staffing plan change, noting that the county had already interviewed multiple applicants.

“And we probably will not be successful in recruiting those that we have already interviewed,” Allen said. “Which, they didn’t have a job before, and they still don’t now, apparently.”

The motion to continue the agenda item passed on a 2-1 vote.

Connor Richards covers government, the environment and south Utah County for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at crichards@heraldextra.com and 801-344-2599.

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