The residents of Norfolk County and Registry users are being informed that effective July 1, 2022 there will be no more on-site direct report Registry Information Technology staff. This final decision dates back to a 2 to 1 vote NOT to appoint a Registry CIO to fill the position of a retiring Registry CIO made by Norfolk County Commissioners Peter Collins and Joe Shea nearly one year ago on June 30, 2021. The vote on June 30, 2021 was a poor decision in a line of questionable decisions made by the Norfolk County Commissioners.
I greatly appreciate the voices and efforts of so many attorneys, real estate brokers, assessors, trade organizations and just regular citizens who were concerned about the title to their homes in trying to keep the Registry IT Department as it has been for over 35 years. You have to accept decisions although I and my Registry senior staff are still trying to envision a plan that will not negatively impact Registry operations and services due to the elimination of on site direct report in the Registry budget Registry IT staff.
The decision NOT to keep the Registry IT staff as is has been made. Many feel there has not been a compelling reason given for the decision. I along with the Registry senior staff were prepared to and are prepared to accept the decision and as is so often said “to move on.” However, it was not enough to eliminate the Registry direct report IT Department. No sooner was the County IT consolidation decision made did the Norfolk County Commissioners have a deposition notice served upon me as Register of Deeds one week later.
I certainly have no issues with answering questions at a deposition about actions taken to advocate for homeowners whose legal title to their home are authenticated by the documents recorded at the Registry of Deeds. I would not have been doing my job under the laws of Massachusetts or fulfilling my fiduciary duties to the Registry stakeholders and the public if I did not “fight the fight” to shed light on the decision of Commissioners Collins and Shea especially with hackers, cybersecurity risks and ransomware present in today’s world.
I can assure the taxpayers of Norfolk County that I will not spend months in legal time as well as legal expenses trying to prevent questions being asked of me as the County Commissioners did for their hired consultant Mark Abrahams who first recommended “IT Consolidation” without speaking to senior Registry staff nor visiting the Norfolk Registry of Deeds. Imagine a paid consultant who was hired by the Norfolk County Commissioners to do a “study” with taxpayers money being protected from answering questions about that “study”. Why would the Norfolk County Commissioners do that? When that consultant Mark Abrahams who was ordered to answer questions then states that there was no cost savings from the County IT consolidation proposal and that the County IT consolidation will not lead to greater efficiency and effectiveness the voters should be asking the County Commissioner up for election this year - Peter Collins – the why all of this.
The Norfolk Registry of Deeds IT matter is not the only controversy the Norfolk County Commissioners has found themselves in. The Norfolk County Commissioners have been involved in a number of lawsuits and open meetings law violations brought by citizens and those opposed to acres of forest being cut down to put solar panels up on county school grounds. It has been the Registry’s turn in the proverbial Norfolk County Commissioners tumbler. Good government process that is transparent should also be a part of government decisions that have impacts on individuals. Apparently, the Norfolk County Commissioners want to continue their battles and their litigation. In the meantime the Norfolk Registry of Deeds staff will try to do the best it can given the circumstances and poor decisions that have come down on Registry operations and services.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and for your interest in this matter.