Jeff L. Thigpen Register of Deeds

Friday, December 24, 2004

Happy Holidays and My Appreciation to Employees in the Deed's office!

I have lots to be thankful for during this season and there is no easy place to begin because I have so many people to thank for their help, advice, counsel, prayers, and good will. From my wife and Elle, to friends at Guilford College, the Board of Commissioner's circle, the election team and BLOGGERS, and MOST IMPRESSIVELY the employees at the Register of Deeds office.

My first two several weeks in office have been humbling and gratifying. They've made me feel one of the team and I am beginning to see the many gifted and talented folks in Greensboro and High Point. The office is entering a time of meaningful change and I am sure we will work together to serve the public well in the year to come. My hopes are to be focused and measured as we move forward. Again, I owe the employees a debt of gratitude for their good will.

I'll be providing some updates in the next week about the many projects underway in the office! Lots are happening. I'll even update you on the employee bathroom! Take care and enjoy the season!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Mister Deeds Starts Work and on the Dusty Dunn Show with John Hammer!

Check out the article in the Rhino Times by Scott Yost! I had a great conversation with Dusty and John on WGOS-1070-AM on this past Friday morning!

Saturday, December 11, 2004

First Week Accomplishments in Register of Deeds Office!

This week was a BLURR!!! Lots of meetings, information, and several decisions. Yes, I did find the bathrooms and break room. I do have lots of keys now--I have no idea where many go. Here are decisions and observations I can recall quickly:

1) Reduced uncertified copy costs to 5 cents from 25 cents. (We went with 5 cents instead of 3 cents because it was easier on staff and our vendor.) Nonetheless, users are happy!

2) Female staff are no longer required to wear pantyhose! Yes, I know this can be taken lots of different ways, but I am happily married and it was a policy of the former Register of Deeds. Of course, folks will still dress professionally!

3) Female staff can wear sleeveless clothes and they can have open-toed shoes during warm months.

4) All staff can wear tennis shoes! Ok, before you go all corporate on me, let me explain. 6 or 7 staff have been given Doctor's notes to wear them due to foot trouble. I think a staff member has even had foot surgery. My staff are on their feet all day; the office is not ergonomically friendly; and I'm a catcher with bad knees. Look, I empathize.

5) The RFP for new technology by the former Register of Deeds has been stopped. It will be rebid in April. Why? 1) Bids ranged from $600,000 to 1.4 million. ( The differential in $ is a tip that the RFP was flawed due vendor interpretation. Picture a gallon of milk ranging from $3 to $7) Next, 2) The process was not thorough with stakeholder input including users, interdepartmental consultation, and Information Services buy-in. 3) We will get a better product and service through a new process.

I apologize to users who've been told all I have to do is follow through with the former Register's process (probably by the former Register), but we can do better and it will be proven with time.

6) I invited the mail staff to my reception on Monday. (As far as I know, I received all the official mail to the Deed's office with no diversions to any unauthorized satellite offices).

7) We are going to move forward with a project to scan indexes back to 1771.

8) I learned we have a vacation policy that is from the Dark Ages. I'll explain it later when I understand it.

9) I can't tell time in my office because my clock is gone!

10) The entire office needs a little "Queer Eye for the Staight Guy!", or I need X-z ibit to "Pimp our Office" (from the MTV show) so to speak. Needless to say, I will work to help make our office more esthetically pleasing for the public in the coming months. The paint is a terrible color, few things on the walls, and the carpet is old school.

11) The counters in the High Point office where engineered by???

12) Charlton Heston's marraige certificate is autographed on the wall in Vital Records. The only one. Hmmn, I have an idea. I'll share it later.

13) I have met with the administrative staff. I hope to meet with supervisors next week and with staff as soon as possible.

14) I went to the District IV meeting of Register of Deeds in Asheboro on Friday. Register of Deeds across NC are concerned about E-commerce; E-recording; and E-notary; etc. initiatives at the state level. I like Elaine Marshall and I believe she does a good job, but ROD's are where the action happens on electronic documentation of Land Records, etc. We need a sit down with her on this stuff. I have confidence she'll do the right thing.

15) I have an exclusive key to an employee courthouse bathroom. I tried it on Thursday. (Hint to judges and staff--the public bathrooms are better).

More observations, but I'll share them as time permits... Take care, Mr. Deeds.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Sworn out and Sworn In---A Day of Good Deeds!

Today was a very good day. I had my last meeting as a Commissioner. I believe the transition to the new board will be a good one. I made many points in my "farewell address"--most of which I can recall due to my fatigue, but I will always count it as an honor to serve in that position. The issues always complex and vexing, the staff and citizens outstanding, and while it is a part-time job--it is an honorable profession. Even in the intense partisan bickering and chaos that followed, commissioner meetings were like Friday night football games to me. I always felt those soul-stirring and electric feelings before the big meetings and games. The feelings that come when we feel a sense of purpose. Quite gratifying as well as addicting at times. I'll miss it but I will not be too far away!

My first day in the Register of Deeds office was great! The lawyers and paralegals were especially happy that they now have 5 cent copy costs. I had the opportunity to meet employees of the office. They were welcoming and I look forward to working with them. I have lots of ideas and thoughts, but I am especially ready to listen to the employees and gain their input on how to move the office in a positive direction.

I received a note from a magistrate informing me that he'd just performed a marriage under paperwork with my name as Register of Deeds. I wish them well...