Marshall Critchfield has been touting himself as the fresh set of eyes needed for the Jasper County Recorder’s Office, and his opponent, current deputy recorder Denise Allan, has been championing her more than 20 years of experience in county government.
Thursday evening at Newton City Hall, both hopefuls were given a chance to meet face to face and answer voters’ questions at a candidate forum presented by the Jasper County League of Women Voters.
“First of all, I want people to know that with county government, you are working for the citizens of Jasper County and customer service is the most important thing. You want them to walk away from that office with a smile on their face and a good customer experience,” Allan said.
A number of duties at the recorder’s office require direct interaction with citizens, and Allan expressed she felt maintaining positive interactions with customers was key. She also said one way she would improve the service is by implementing several new measures, including the ability to renew hunting and fishing licenses online and adding debit and credit card machines to the office.
Critchfield agreed that adding those components would be nice, but offered a different means of online renewals. He suggested since the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has an online renewal system in place, if elected, he would arrange it so that citizens could renew with IDNR but be able to pick up their new license at the recorder’s office.
Another objective of his is to bring more awareness to the position itself.
“One of the most common question I hear — out on the campaign trail — is, ‘what does the county recorder even do?’ That question saddens me, and, if elected, I will change that. I think it starts with the schools. Field trips for the younger kids — and not just a lap through to see the big vault — I’d like to see a demo day with a historian, a title agent, a surveyor or civil engineer,” Critchfield said.
Allan — who’s worked under outgoing county recorder Nancy Parrott since 2011 — touted her familiarity with various functions of county government as a selling point. She explained that since 1991, when she began as a part-time county employee, she’s been a constant learner on its functions.
Now, she says she’s ready to take the office to the next level.
“I know in the recorder’s office, I helped lead the way with the new (IDNR) program, which is called Rivers. We’re now working with a new program called, (Iowa’s Vital Event System), through the (Iowa) Department of Health,” Allan said.
“I’ve been instrumental in that program as well. I have the knowledge and ability. I have the leadership skills and I have led the way — especially with the Beacon program and (Geographic Information System). Plus, I have managed people in the auditor’s office and in the recorder’s office, and I know I can do it.”
Critchfield touted his education, which includes a master’s degree in business management, and his diverse employment background — from his first post-college job as a U.S. Legislative Aide to his current position as a management analyst for Wells Fargo. He said the roles have adequately prepared him to fill this position.
“Why am I qualified? For the reasons that I said earlier. My aptitude for history and historical documentation and archiving them — that kind of thing. All the years I worked in real estate development, and, with respect to the work I’ve done at Wells Fargo and the sensitive documentation. And, of course, the customer service (aspect),” Critchfield said.
“I’ve led. I’ve managed as well in all facets of life. Not just in my work life, but in personal life as well. I’ve chaired a number of charitable organizations, I’ve been active on boards and I’ve been very generous with my time and I think my customer service skills are at the top. So that’s why I think I can do it.”
Contact Ty Rushing at 641-792-3121 ext. 6532 or email@example.com