By Chris Day
STILLWATER, Okla. —
The Payne County Clerk’s office records approximately 185 transactions a day and has recorded approximately 7,000 since Glenna Craig took office Jan. 1.
Oil and gas exploration in Payne County drives a lot of the activity, Craig said. The office is embracing technology to increase efficiency, backup documents and improve the public’s ability to access records.
“I’ve upgraded the technology and the computers to be more friendly to the public and the staff,” Craig said.
Craig discussed her first five months in office and its direction in the latest Webisode of the NewsPress’ public affairs program, “Conversations With ...” The entire video interview is available on the NewsPress Website, stwnewspress.com or its YouTube channel, youtube.com/stwnewspress.
Here are some excerpts from the “Conversations with” interview with Craig.
Can you tell us a little bit about how you got started in public service?
“Well, I got started in public service, actually 26 years ago. I was a licensed abstractor for a company and did many, many hours of research in the county clerk’s office, and that kind of intrigued me in county government records and deeds. I had the opportunity to go to work in the election board. I went to the election board in 1988. I was the clerk at that time, moved up to the assistant secretary in 2000 and then I moved on up to the election board secretary. I kept that position until 2012 when I went to work as chief deputy assessor in the assessor’s office for James Cowan. I decided to run for the county clerk’s office again and I was blessed and I won. So now, I am in the county clerk’s office. I’ve kind of had a wide range of county government experience. I really enjoy helping people and the function of county government and what it does for the people. I wanted to participate in being a good steward of taxpayers’ money. I thought this was the best way to do that — become an elected official and put my knowledge where my heart was and serve the community.”
You have been county clerk since Jan. 1. We are about five months in so what have you changed and what will you continue to change during your term?
“I hit the ground running. I had six open positions when I took office. Several retired. I had three that stayed. I’ve filled all our positions. I have a great staff. We are going through training. I’ve upgraded the technology and the computers to be more friendly to the public and to the staff. We are working now on off-site backups. Before there were paper copies of every deed and record kept in salt mines in Kansas, I’m working on off-site backups where I could be up and running anywhere with a laptop computer within five minutes. We are going to get rid of the storage underground. I’ve added more public terminals. ... We are working on the technology being faster getting things online, more public access so people don’t have to wait for our records. ...”
The Payne County Budget Board meets Monday to start the budget process. What have you learned from budget preparations?
“I’ve been involved in county government 25 years so I understood how the budget process worked. Just sitting with the county CPA and formulating the whole book and putting it all together has shown me a new perspective — the difference in apples and oranges from treasurer’s office to the county clerk’s office. The treasurer’s office takes the money in. The county clerk’s office appropriates the money by spending, does all the payables ..., shows all the outstanding warrants, outstanding balances. I truly have a better understanding of the complementation of those two offices — how they work together. It’s kind of a marriage when you put the budget together.”