Jeff L. Thigpen Register of Deeds

Monday, June 27, 2005

Supreme Court goes into the Bed Room of Guilford County Government!

The Supreme Court decision re: Ten Commandments demands scrutiny on a case-by case basis to determine whether the display of the 10'C's go too far in amounting to a governmental promotion of religion. What does spin does this spell for our elected heroes?!?

I support having the Ten commandments in the commissioner meeting room. Of course I used them for religious purposes while on the Board. I prayed for a number of things--- audio difficulties; votes without comment; adjournment; lightning-(directed at the my choice of commissioner); and an occasional meditation on the dirty word (a%%) in the 10th commandment --at times of disagreement with my fellow board members. Why should we deprive our county elected officials of these centering prayers under the ol' Hang 10?!?

This ruling could be far-reaching in scope! Taking them down in Guilford County would just make for bad precedent. If they come down I might have to take Moses' marriage Certificate out of my Vital Records Area. That would not be cool...

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Friday, June 24, 2005

Episode II- Guilford County passes Budget!

As 27 Department Directors (John Shore was not there) and additional staff looked on, the Board of Commissioners called a (30 minute)--10 minute recess and then voted 6-5 for the FY 05-06 budget. They had a spirited "in an intoxicated kind of way" (haha) debate about whether all Department Heads would have to come to the podium and plead their case against 5% or 10% cuts.

While ready, I believe many Department Heads didn't relish the thought 'mixing it up' with Republicans or Democrats on the Board. You know, kinda like the result of 'mixing up' those 1/2 breed kitty and cougar pets that were on tv a few weeks ago. On tv everyone 'ssaayyss' they're a great combination, but you wonder whether your fingers and toes will become a 12 piece value meal if you pet them or they have to approach the podium. I watched those senior county employees look toward the dias for over an hour with a sort of stoic and staid, no... annoyingly patient, no-bewildered, hmmn, no wait, nervously constipated, well, let's say...
"awestruck inglyi'dratherbemedicallyprobedorworsebuti'mokwithitcauseicouldbeupthere" ehhrr, ....... kind of look.

ASIDE: My thoughts drifted to children of all ages who paid a dollar to view the world's smallest horse at the Greensboro fair last year. As I watched them circle above the shrunken tunnel their faces were chisled with a look like ...was it really a horse or dog, or huh, a dog with a horse suit on?? The Department Head/Fair-goer eyes all carried the common volitile conviction of not quite being able to peg the complexity and absurdity of the situation presented before them..

I immediately had a bi-polar moment. First polar: Yeah my heart goes out to you my fellow Department Director. .. I wanted to say, "Hey, I understand your feelings, things are glum chums, but perservere my friends. Second polar: But wait, drifting subconsciously, my eyes are now looking from my former seat behind those mahogney grand stands with my old friends looking back to these new friends I call my own and my seat in the audience. I settled down. Yes, I know what it's like being up there as a commissioner. Oh, my people. (You know, my people like relatives you don't see much but have a soft spot for. And yes, even the Republicans on the Board too.)

I could not deny the emotion. Empathy.... Yes, empathy. I felt it for everyone, audience, staff, department heads, taxpayers, even the commissioners who are today receiving the letters and calls that come with their duties. One of my favorite letters after a budget vote was as follows: "You suck...please quit. Signed, A constituent".

Well.... the distant light appeared through the stormy clouds as JD Rowland and his Budget Analysts disappeared into the dark halls of the Courthouse about 5 minutes into the recess. Only the most seasoned eye caught this vanishing act and it was immediately brought to my attention as we anxiously gushed upon their re-emergence. Hope, yes hope. With the waive of a magic wand, a budget appearith under the arms of Dr. J.D. (with motion!) We are friends.

I must share two memorable moments after the motion was made. First, Trudy summoned BJ to the podium and mentioned that he could cut an additional $150,000 from his budget. I can only imagine what went through BJ's mind at that moment. "Gee, thanks for the head's up, my Republican friend". haha. I think Paul Gibson for a brief moment thought, "Does Trudy really want us to add that cut to the budget motion?" And second, Billy, the REAL veternarian on the Board. "The philosophy of these Democrats on this board is as reversed as a dog barking out its rear".

Well, last night is over. I have a budget. A new day has dawned. The Register of Deeds office has some work to do.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Mike Barber for Greensboro City Council- District 4!

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With the musical chair action in today's N&R, I believe Mike Barber would make a great addition to the Greensboro City Council. As a fellow former commissioner, I served with Mike for four years and hope he gets back into public life. He also has a great new office at the corner of Tate and Market Street near downtown. I can certainly understand why he might pass up a low-paying job with many potential headaches and such. But all and all, Mike's got skills and he should be back in the game and the public will definately benefit.

A clean-shaven Barber (as shown above) would be a good fit for District 4!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Episode I: ROD scambles to make 5% and 10% cuts in budget!

Yes, I can make a cut or two in my budget. I have a contract I'm dying to get rid of against recommendation of county staff. I will not go into details, but after I nip and tuck in a few places it is still as ways to 5% ( around $170,000). 10% ($340,000) cuts would mean staff cuts.

I appreciate that several commissioners visited my office in the Spring and I smothered them with details about the Deeds office. In 1990, our office had 27 employees. In 2004, our office has 30 staff members and a High Point office (the 3 additional employees). Real Estate documents have from 264,000 to 656,000; 10,000 more vital records recorded a year; and processing twice as many cancellations (15,000 to 33,000 a year). To name a few.

Technology changes over time has helped a bit, but those changes were based on older technology whose life is about lost. Our staff needs many of the resources in our current budget to not only "hold serve" or "make par" for all you US Open folks); but to make serious progress in our office that is desperately needed. We are reorganizing in a way that will allow us to keep our current staff levels, add 2 needed positions (only 1 is county funded) this year, and hopefully increase our work volumne much more in the coming years without huge increases in county monies.

I'll go into the progressive changes in the next few days.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Why No Child Left Behind needs a serious MEND!

If a Guilford County school does not meet AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress in 10 categories) through No Child Left Behind, then the Guilford County School system has to pay the transportation costs for ANY child ( in that school) that wants to attend another school . So, let me get this straight, if a school makes AYP in 9 of the 10 areas and one subgroup, say students with disabilities does not make AYP, then every kid in the school 10/10 subgroups are eligible to leave, go wherever they want within the school system, and taxpayers/school system pays the bill! Actually, local taxpayers foot the bill because we're the ones sucking up this expense.

In terms of how NCLB relates to the ABC's in NC, a school could be a SCHOOL OF EXCELLENCE and still be labeled a failing school under NCLB. No Child Left Behind is becoming the biggest unfunded mandate in the history of this country. It might even work if it were funded properly, but we'll never know because I doubt it will ever receive the monies necessary for real implementation.

I'd much rather see the kid who failed have the opportunity to leave or get some kind of specialized instruction to make academic progress without free taxi service for all the Guilford County School students in that low performing school to bail...

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Monday, June 13, 2005

Willie Nelson Plays to Packed House at WAR MEMORIAL STADIUM!

And Dewey beats Truman! I found myself attending Willie's concert at War Memorial Stadium on Saturday, June 11, 2005. A fitting tribute to the new stadium I must say. And Willie's kid Lucas is a kid who can ROCK da blues..... But the plot thickens.

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Mistake or hidden message? Bloggers, look closely under Friends on the t-shirt to pick up the WMS language. Friend also pictured to the left of t-shirt. And Willie is directly above Willie. Hmmn. (Photo taken by anonymous source and secretly found at doorstep. After all, no cameras were allowed at War Memorial Stadium. Obviously, that's not me either).

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At 6:05 pm, we make the mad dash to Market Street to become part of Willie's motorcade to War Memorial Stadium as you can see. On the Road Again!

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At 10: 31 am, Oh HECHT's! No problem....Yes, Hecht's is an offical Ticketmaster outlet. The lady at the counter was avid blogger apparently, she just asked how many tickets? "2 tickets", I responded, "2 tickets only". HECHT's, the official sponsor of my tickets for Willie Nelson at War Memorial Stadium.

6:03 am, Elle wakes Daddy. "Da Da!". Daddy's First thought: Mama, don't left your cowboys grow up to be babys!

Friday, June 10, 2005

Unlike me: No attendants available at!

Usually I buy Willie Nelson Tickets WAY, WAY in advance. Going to the Wine Festival tomorrow, but change in plans......opportunity to see Willie. Can't pass it up, taking relative.

The Problem: 7600 tickets sold; Ticketmaster closed. Friday night?

What will I do?

Tune in Next time to see the outcome to tense situation.....

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Here's Where I Stand... Jesse Helms, you are no Clay Aiken!

Jesse Helms admits he was wrong about AIDS, but not about integration. I'm so glad he is in retirement. Pictured below with good friend, "Kuuufffii Annoon".

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Thursday, June 09, 2005

Whippersnapper goes High Tech!

Rhino Times gives an update on the Whippersnapper's time in the Deed's office!

I like Scott Yost whose yearly salary is $37,500, not including car allowance and his many assets. (Just joking, I don't know those things.) Scott Yost, for all you political historians, was the Libertarian Candidate for Governor in 1996 garnering 17304 votes, 0.7% of the electorate. He mentions my salary in the Rhino at every chance. I told him that I haven't increased personal spending because of the debt accumulated from being a county commissioner! That issue will be covered in a future blog spot on the economics of being a Guilford County Commissioner.

Please contact me directly if anyone knows Scott Yost's yearly salary!

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Automation and Technology Committee Meeting of NC Register of Deeds draws over 75!

I attended, with several members of our GC ROD office, a meeting of the NC Register of Deeds Automation and Technology Committee in Durham Tuesday. I believe this meeting will have far reaching implications on technology and commerce in North Carolina in time. iCounty Technologies was invited to talk about a statewide web portal concept designed to process electronic documents. Their concept brings counties, software vendors, and those who submit documents together in such a way that provides equal access to urban/rural counties alike to participate in e-recording.

Right now, only Mecklenburg County does e-recording of documents, mainly mortgage cancellations from out of state and some assignments. They have to work with automating vendor businesses like INGEO and Simplifile whose role in e-recording is to provide a combination of software and services automating the paperless creation, authorization, validation, and distribution of real estate documents. While they provide a needed service, there are other automating vendors that, if e-recording leg. passes, could make Register of Deed offices the case managers of these vendors if there is no standardizing mechanism for requirements for submission. And I see lots of our taxpayer $$$$$ going out the window if we don't get organized...

I see problems ahead at this crucial time if e-recording is implemented in a fragmented way in NC. One, if URPERA passes (and I support it with reservations re: E-Recording Council's relationship [a majority ROD's and practicioners] to NC Secretary of State's office [whom I like but has VETO power of their recommendations which I don't like] and the E-Notary- [legislation is more oriented to an enforcement and regulatory view which raises questions about its practical implementation and impact on commerce) , e-recording will proceed in mostly large counties because we have more financial resources and smaller counties will get left behind. (Remember, while I'm Register in Guilford--I'm from Burgaw in Pender County and I'm quite partial to small counties and Paul's Place relish.)

Second, the costs for software, integration issues, and possibly additional servers to work with the automating vendors could raise overall ROD expenses for e-recording. Third, North Carolina needs to have an e-recording system in our state that enables every county to participate if they choose--from Gates to Guilford County. In conclusion, I believe NC should follow the route of NJ, Missouri, and Iowa and work toward a state-wide internet portal approach toward implementing electronic recording. The portal would be standards-based from PRIA and MISMO (see more links on, give a single point of entry for documents, and with easier interfacing it could be broadly implemented. And yes, save money. There are multiple options available for who and how the portal would be hosted but the concept deserves more exploration by our Association and I'm behind it 1000%.

Right now, Guilford County will not be implementing electronic recording immediately. Once we select a software provider in a few months; have appropriate legislative authority and the standards become clearer, we'll be on our way. This procress will take time.

But I appreciate the story and experience of Judy Gibson in Mecklenburg County because as she has progressed down the yellow brick road of e-recording, she sees the pitfalls that most ROD's in NC want to avoid in pursuing this concept. She's also not shy in pointing them out to the benefit to young whippersnappers like me!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Register of Deeds E-Newsletter is Now Online!

Citizens of Guilford County can take a look at the first Register of Deeds E-Newsletter at our website--

The newsletter has a 100 Day Report on the many areas we are working on in our office.

If you are not already signed up to read the next editions, please sign up at our website.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Paid a Visit to Randolph County Register of Deed's office!

Me and my merry band of supervisors visited the Randolph County Register of Deeds office early this morning. Ann Shaw, the Randolph County ROD is great and does an outstanding job influencing the legislative direction of NC ROD offices! Her staff were very helpful and we have quite a few customers in common. We did a walk through and talked through quite a few questions. Tomorrow morning a group of us are headed to Durham County for an important meeting re: electronic recording in NC. Willie Covington, Durham County ROD and NC ROD President, will host the meeting. Willie is also well-respected and savy. Willie and I are "two of the girls" in our ROD District. haha.

I've really grateful to Ann and Willie as role models. Again, they both do an outstanding job and are great leaders for our Association.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

YIPPEE~!!! We've got a new web address!!

Just type in and it'll get you to the website!! Clean and simple...

That's a whole lot better than saying "Hey, to get an alert about ID Theft Legislation, just simply go to

Yes, I'm quite Major accomplishment. We've made some changes. Lots more to come! We have a customer survey form; added some click here's to get some up to date info; Legislative Updates dropdown; links; put a few more phone #'s up there and the e-newsletter went out yesterday. I'm trying to get it up there and on the blog too.

The website has a ways to go...but we are making progress!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

AG Commissioner has tough run of luck with rabid animals!

Dude, would a change of cologne help!?!! Steve Troxler's puppy and family have been targets of rabid Democratic animal plot! Good luck Steve!

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Tobacco Companies FINALLY Discover what I KNOW!

Tobacco companies did research on how to hook women on smoking! Daye err debius, daye err! De secrit ingrdent! Har, har, har....