UPDATED: Two Summit County Democrats file for recorder’s position before one withdraws
July 24, 2018
UPDATE: M. Alex Natt on Tuesday evening announced his intention to withdraw from the race. In an email statement to Summit County Democratic officials, he cited the qualifications of the other candidate, Rhonda Francis, as being a factor in his decision. “… It appears to me that her skill set is the right one for the position of Summit County Recorder now,” he said.
Two Democratic Party candidates submitted applications last week for the Summit County recorder opening, while the Summit County Republican Party failed to field any candidates for the elected position.
Rhonda Francis, a longtime Summit County employee, and M. Alex Natt, a Park City attorney, made their campaigns official with the required candidate filings. The window to declare as a candidate closed on Friday.
Francis has worked in the recorder's office since October of 2002, spending the last five years as chief deputy.
"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 in an interview earlier this month. "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."
Natt has been practicing law in Summit County since 1997, according to a letter he submitted to the central committee as part of his application for the position. He worked on litigation, real estate and land use, as well as general transactional law, and has also served as general counsel for U.S. Ski and Snowboard.
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Natt said he has never served in a recorder or surveyor position during his 21-year legal career. However, he highlighted his experience preparing documents, such as liens, that were intended to be recorded with the county.
"My legal career has offered me the opportunity to gain a multitude of skills which I believe can be brought to bear on the position for which I am offering my service," he stated. "It is without question that I do not have the same level of familiarity with the recording process as someone who has worked day to day in the recorder's office. But, I am detail-oriented, diligent and a quick study."
Francis and Natt are seeking to replace MaryAnn Trussell, who resigned more than two years before her term was set to expire. Her last day was June 30.
Francis took over as interim department head July 1. She will occupy the position until July 31 while the Summit County Democratic Party chooses either Francis or Natt to serve through the end of 2018 and be placed on the November ballot.
The party's central committee is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 26, in the community room on the third floor of the Park City Library. The meeting is open to the public, but voting will be restricted to members of the central committee. The central committee is comprised of the officers of the county's party, elected officials and county delegates and has approximately 60 members.
Summit County Democratic Party Chair Cheryl Butler said the candidates will be given three minutes to introduce themselves to committee members and explain why they are the best person for the job.
The party will need to submit the chosen candidate's name to the clerk's office so it can be certified and placed on the ballot before Sept. 2. Once voters select a permanent replacement, the candidate will be sworn in for a two-year term beginning Jan. 1. The race will be uncontested unless a write-in candidate emerges.
The Summit County Republican Party also did not field candidates in four other county races that will be decided this fall. Republican Party Chair Brantley Eason did not return messages left by The Park Record.
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.