Summit County’s chief deputy recorder assumes office duties
Former Summit County Recorder MaryAnn Trussell officially vacated her post on Sunday, leaving longtime employee Rhonda Francis to assume her duties.
Trussell announced in June that she would retire early, more than two years before her term was set to expire. The County Council recently honored her for nearly 30 years of service.
Francis, a Hoytsville resident who has served as chief civil deputy for five years, took over as interim department head this week in a move that essentially dissolved her position. She has worked in the recorder’s office for more than 15 years.
Trussell’s decision to leave her position mid-term sets off a complicated process to find a temporary replacement until voters have a chance to weigh in this fall. Francis will occupy the position for a period of 30 days while the Summit County Democratic Party nominates someone to serve through the end of 2018. The County Council must approve the nominee.
Elected officials are scheduled to make a formal announcement on July 11 to declare the recorder’s position vacant. The Council’s announcement will allow the Summit County Democratic and Republican Parties to begin recruiting candidates to fill the remainder of Trussell’s term. Voters will determine a permanent replacement in November.
Kellie Robinson, chief deputy clerk, said the clerk’s office will begin advertising the open seat once the County Council makes its declaration. She said the filing window to declare as a candidate will open on July 16.
Those interested in running for the position will have a short window to file, with only five business days until the deadline. Candidates will have until Friday, July 20, at 5 p.m. They must file in person at the clerk’s office between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. The filing fee is $293.54.
“Once all the names are submitted, then that information will be turned over to the parties,” Robinson said. “The Democratic and Republican parties would then have to decide from there who to put on the ballot in November.”
Candidates must be selected at least 65 days in advance of the election so that their names can be added to the ballot. Summit County Democratic Party Chair Cheryl Butler said the party’s central committee is expected to meet on July 26 to nominate a candidate.
Brantley Eason, chair of the Summit County Republican Party, has expressed interest in recruiting candidates to fill the seat. However, the Republicans did not field candidates in four other county races also on the ballot this fall.
Francis, who is a registered Democrat, announced her interest in filling Trussell’s unexpired term. She said she had every intention of running once Trussell’s term expired.
“I love this work and I feel like I know it well enough, and I can step right in and we would be OK,” she said. “I would hate to see someone walk in and not know what we do in this office. You get protective of your work and you want people to appreciate how it’s done. I hope that we can just keep going and not miss a beat. That would be the ideal situation. But, you never know what could happen next when politics are involved.”
The recorder’s office is responsible for tracking all land records for taxation purposes. Information about property ownership and acreage is also available through the office. The recorder oversees six employees.
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