The Rolla Daily News asked Republican candidate and Incumbent Robin Kordes and Democrat candidate Liz Sperry about what makes them the best candidate to serve as Phelps County Recorder of Deeds when voters take to the polls Nov. 6, 2018.
Robin Kordes (R): Robin Kordes is the acting Phelps County Recorder of Deeds, and has served as the Phelps County Recorder for 15 years. Kordes attended Stephens College for two years and went on to graduate from Kansas City College of Medical and Dental Assistants in Kansas City, Mo. in 1986. Kordes has lived in Rolla since 1986, and she and her husband, Kevin, owned Kordes Funeral Home with locations in Rolla and Vienna, along with Kordes-Long Funeral Home in Dixon and Crocker.
Kordes was elected for the position of Ward 6 City Council member in 1995 through 1998. She is a member of First Baptist Church, current Board President of Rolla Nutrition Site, volunteer at Rolla Lions Club Carnival and Phelps County Regional Fair and has been a committee member for over 20 years and co-chair for the past three years for the Rolla Cancer Gala. Kordes has two children, Amanda Humphrey and Kaleb Kordes. She has one son in law, Travis Humphrey, and one grandson, Beau.
Liz Sperry (D): Liz Sperry is a hardworking wife and mother of three. She grew up in Vermont and got to see the countryside during her time in the military. She was in the Military Police in the Army National Guard and Security Forces in the Air Force Reserve. Liz was an active part of the campaign that succeeded in bringing PreK to the elementary schools of Rolla. Our local schools are very important to Liz, she volunteers regularly and is the coordinator for the Rolla Junior High Home and School Partnership that focuses on educating parents on ways to help their teens succeed. Liz enjoys many forms of art and enjoys singing an Irish tune or two with the local Irish dancers.
RDN: What makes you the best candidate for the office of Phelps County Recorder?
Robin Kordes (R): As Phelps County Recorder of Deeds, I am dedicated to the preservation of Phelps County’s records; the integrity of real estate deeds, marriage licenses, plats, surveys and military discharges, and continuing to make this office user friendly, professional, efficient.
Liz Sperry (D): I have been a citizen of Phelps County for almost 10 years. In that time, I have had the chance to get to know the area and its people. I have been an active part of many organizations including the Meramec Regional Arts Association and the Rolla Optimist Club. I was in the Army National Guard and the Air Force Reserve and I worked in an administrative capacity for some time. I am dedicated to working hard and upholding the high-quality standards this office deserves.
RDN: What are the duties of the Phelps County Recorder?
Robin Kordes (R): The Recorder of Deeds maintains and preserves some of our county's most important records. Records in this office provide data about real estate transactions in a historical perspective. The Recorder of Deeds is responsible for making a record of documents primarily in real estate and the issuance of marriage licenses. In addition, Uniform Commercial Code, servicemen's records, tax liens and miscellaneous documents may be recorded upon request and compliance with statutes.
Liz Sperry (D): The Phelps County Recorder of Deeds office is responsible for safeguarding the property information for property owners within the county. This is especially important in an age where property fraud is becoming more frequent. This office is also responsible for issuing marriage licenses and keeping a copy of the DD214 of any service member in the county that was released from the military.
RDN: What is the single most pressing challenge facing the Phelps County Recorder’s office?
Robin Kordes (R): Technology is always a challenge; balancing security with progress. I have implemented the use of credit cards as a source of payment and have moved to e-recording documents which provides recording in a timelier fashion. I transitioned the hosting of my land records software as well as all historical images and index to secure, redundant offsite locations. By doing this, I have protected the county against the ever-increasing threat of malware and ransomware while saving Phelps County money at the same time.
Liz Sperry (D):I believe one of the biggest challenges about this office is educating the public about what the office does. I have met several people that didn’t even know this office exists! This is an important position and finding ways to not only educate the public about the office but also educating them on issues that affect them that are relevant to the office- such as estate planning and how to prevent property fraud- will really benefit Phelps County.
RDN: The staff of the recorder’s office interacts with the public on a daily basis. How do you ensure your staff is trained to assist the public and deal with them in a professional manner?
Robin Kordes (R): Customer service is always a priority. My staff and I help and guide the public in a respectful manner and treat our customers how we would want to be treated.
RDN: The staff of the recorder’s office interacts with the public on a daily basis. How would you ensure training to assist the public and enforce professional behavior?
Liz Sperry (D): Customer service is important in any position. When I was in the Military Police, we had to focus on customer service and how to appropriately interact with the public. As a representative of our local government, I would require all employees have not only basic knowledge but would ensure continued education to keep them refreshed on the best ways to represent this office.
RDN: Should county offices be subject to term limits? How many years have you served and why should voters re-elect you?
Robin Kordes (R): I believe the voters set my term limit. If I am not doing the job they elected me to do, the voters should hold me accountable.
For the past 15 years, I have worked daily to bring efficiency to the office. In 2003, I committed to a large project of digitizing, microfilming and back indexing all information of all the Phelps County records, including plats, surveys, marriage license and military discharges dating back to 1857. This electronic process helps to preserve the original books while making a search for back data more systematic. The books are in chronological order not alphabetical, so searching the database is more time efficient. The two biggest parts of digitizing started in 2015 on the warranty deed books, and those have just been finished. When the project is completed in 2 years with the deed of trust books, customers will be able to do a computer search of ALL records back to 1857.
RDN: Should county offices be subject to term limits?
Liz Sperry (D):I believe all offices should have term limits. I worry when we have people in a position for too long they become complacent and stop focusing on quality work. I believe having a change in officeholder not only allows for a fresh perspective but also allows for the chance for more people that are qualified for these positions to have opportunities they may not have considered.
RDN: What should voters know about you to make an informed decision?
Robin Kordes (R): I am a hands-on, full time Recorder and believe that as an elected official, I owe the citizens of Phelps County my full commitment of time and expertise. As Phelps County Recorder I have continuously maintained the budget of the Recorder’s office and will continue to make that one of my priorities.
I appreciate the 15 years of trust and confidence that the citizens of Phelps County have placed in me and would appreciate your continued support to serve as your Recorder of Deeds.
Liz Sperry (D): I am dedicated, I work hard, I am always open to discussion, and I appreciate learning another point of view. A vote for me would be a vote for someone who will not only take this position seriously but will work hard with every year to stay refreshed and focused. I will continually educate myself and my staff and will constantly strive to be my best for Phelps County.