DuPage County Board delays discussion about recorder's office after mix-up

Debate on a plan to have voters decide the future of the DuPage County Recorder's office has been postponed until next month because of an administrative mix-up.

County board member Elizabeth Chaplin is calling for a binding question to appear on the March primary election ballot that would eliminate the recorder's office and merge its duties with the county clerk's office. The Downers Grove Democrat even submitted a proposed resolution for the full board to consider during its Tuesday meeting.

But soon after the discussion began, officials discovered Chaplin's original resolution wasn't in the meeting packet. Instead, board members were given a copy of a resolution containing changes Chaplin doesn't support.

After pausing for more than 15 minutes to figure out what happened, officials said a revised version of the resolution inadvertently was added to the meeting packet.

"There were two documents floating around," Chairman Dan Cronin said after the meeting. "One was her original resolution, and then there was an amendment."

Because of the mix-up, the board delayed the discussion until Nov. 12.

"I wish we didn't have to postpone it," Chaplin said after the meeting. "I don't know why it (the error) happened. But I thought it was better to be safe and have it done the right way for next time."

Chaplin is pushing for a referendum question even though Cronin has proposed a budget for fiscal 2020 that includes funding for a study to determine whether taxpayer money can be saved by merging the recorder's office - which is the custodian of all the county's land records - with the clerk's office.

"We always have gone where the facts took us," Cronin said Tuesday. "And we have not ventured into a consolidation until we had a strong set of facts and solid research and data laid out for us."

He said Chaplin's plan "is not the best we can do."

"It does not create adequate planning or analysis," Cronin said, "and the timing of the question is not optimal."

Chaplin, however, says the time is right to eliminate the office because longtime Recorder Fred Bucholz is planning to retire after his four terms in office. If a ballot measure is approved in March, the consolidation could take effect in December 2020.

She said she doesn't believe DuPage needs a study because it can learn from counties that already have eliminated their recorder's offices.

Dan Cronin
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