Each morning, the stack of mail that arrives at the Livingston County Register of Deeds office stands anywhere from 12 to 24 inches high - and on Mondays, it can be even bigger.
Not many of the envelopes are very thick. Most contain only a few pieces of paper, maybe a paper clip, maybe a staple.
It’s a heavy load that amounts to 300 to 350 documents, and it’s the register’s job to validate and certify each and every document and record them in a database. The database, which is accessible to the public, contains all of Livingston County’s land records, including liens, mortgages and easements.
It’s not exactly interesting information, but it is important. As current register, Sally Reynolds, said, “Our tax base is based on these documents. Court cases are determined according to these documents. The whole economy is based on these documents.”
Reynolds, who grew up in Howell, has worked in the Register of Deeds office for 25 years. She is nearing the end of her second term as registrar. During her eight years in office, Reynolds says she has implemented changes that have resulted in improved efficiency, thoroughness and service.
From June 1 through June 15 of this year, she and her staff of six processed 1,722 documents, all of which were checked, re-checked, and published on the database the same day they were received.
“There used to be a three-month lag," Reynolds said. "Now the information is available the same day. And I have decreased staff requirements from 15 to six. I have replaced all monitors with flat screens for less energy use. My staff is cross-trained to perform each job task."
Reynolds is also a big believer in treating customers kindly. Before she even knew what the Register of Deeds office is, Reynolds was sent there to retrieve information concerning the family’s property. She remembers being treated poorly by one staff member before another took over and walked her through the process, ultimately helping her find what she was looking for.
“Because are walk-in customers are often emotionally charged—they’ve lost someone or are going through divorce, bankruptcy, or foreclosure—I’ve taught my staff to be sensitive,” she said.
Reynolds’s challenger, , also prioritizes quality service.
“I’m running because I think customer service in Livingston County can be improved,” Buillon said.
Buillon, who also grew up in the area, says her experience comes from working in real estate and title insurance for the last 26 years.
“When I owned my own title company, the customer was my boss. I understand the importance of having timely and accurate documents, I know how those documents effect your ability to sell your property, and I know how to provide friendly, helpful explanations to make the process easier,” Buillon said.
Because both women are republican, the Aug. 7 primary election will determine the winner.