Name as it Appears on the Ballot: Deborah B. Brooks
Date of Birth: 02/04/1957
Campaign Web Site: www.reelectdeborahbrooks.com
Occupation & Employer: Orange County Register of Deeds
Home Phone: 919.732.8302
Work Phone: 919.245.2679
Cell Phone: 919.880.5982
1. What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective as the Orange County Register of Deeds? This might include career or community service; be specific about its relevance to this office.
I am the Register of Deeds of Orange County and have been for 3 ½ years. I have worked in the Orange Register of Deeds office for 38 years. With ever increasing responsibility I was promoted to Assistant Register of Deeds before obtaining my present position. I have mastered every aspect of the office, with hands-on experience, including maintenance and supervision of North Carolina’s premier real property index, the computerized Orange County Land Records System, including its PIN index of land title documents.
I was one of the first in our state to become a Certified Register of Deeds by the NC Association of Register of Deeds. I have attended numerous workshops, classes, seminars and conferences to increase my knowledge of changes in office practice, technology and legislation affecting the Register of Deeds office. I am actively involved in the NC Association of Register of Deeds, serving on committees within the Association and a member of National Association of County Recorders, Election Officials and Clerks.
I am an Orange County native and have lived in Orange County all my life. I was educated in Orange County public schools and have an Associate Degree in Business Administration from Durham Technical Community College.
2. What, in your reckoning, is the chief goal of the Register of Deeds? How would you go about achieving your chief goal?
Creating and maintaining the accuracy and integrity of the land title and vital records of Orange County reaching from 1752 to today. Also, providing access to these public records (historic, present and future) is of the upmost importance to the success of my office and the citizens it serves.
The goal is best achieved by: hiring and training a motivated and high performing staff; requiring tough standards of staff in creating and maintaining the records; evaluating, obtaining and using the most reliable, secure and cost effective software and hardware to perform daily activities; provide citizens with appropriate access to records they need; and, adhering strictly to the General Statutes and other laws that govern the running of my office.
3. If you are the incumbent, explain what you have done to improve the performance of the Register of Deeds. If you are a challenger, explain what you would do to improve the office.
During my term I have:
• lowered copy fees for citizens
• implemented-E Recording Satisfactions
• E-Recording of all Land Documents-projected date June, 2014
• Initiated back scanning of older birth, death and marriage records (done by staff in addition to their daily responsibilities with no additional cost to the taxpayers)
• Reviewed real property documents dating back to 1752 that have been scanned, with a projected date for online access in late April or early May, 2014 (Approximately 900,000 images)
• Coordinated the implementation of the new computerized and on-line Orange County Land Records System including the Parcel Identification Number (PIN) index of real property documents and record of property ownership.
• Interpreters and translators available for assistance from other county departments
• MasterCard/Visa-projected date May, 2014
4. When it comes to the office of Register of Deeds, how would you make accessing or filing public documents easier and more accessible to the public?
Technology is providing better and safer means of allowing citizen access to public records. Security is the most important aspect of land title and vital record access, whether it is to view or submit a document. The Register of Deeds is personally liable for the integrity of her/his records as is the County. Accessing and warranting must be considered when allowing the records public exposure. The PIN index and document images are currently accessible to the public on their home or office computer. In tight budget times technology must be implemented carefully and cost effectively.
5. Identify a principled stand you would be willing to take if elected, even if it cost you popularity points with voters.
The Register of Deeds is required to follow the North Carolina General Statutes when it comes to her/his records. I will always make the choice of following the statutes when it comes to how my records are obtained, created, and maintained. This is what assures the integrity and reliability of a record so that it is accepted by institutions and businesses as a true record. I stand for the fair and equal treatment of all citizens, free from discrimination, secure in their dignity and rights. However I will uphold my oath to abide by North Carolina laws and Regulations.
6. How do you define yourself politically and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?
I am a life-long progressive Democrat. I have always stood for equal rights, equal justice and the elimination of discrimination. I have worked most of my life in the Register of Deeds office, supporting those principles under the excellent example of my mentors, Betty June Hayes and Joyce Pearson. I will continue those principles as your Register of Deeds, while making my office the best in North Carolina when it comes to professional performance and integrity.