Short-staffed county clerk faces increased demand for services
Strong growth over the past year and concurrent labor shortage has hit Grand County, straining local services.
The Grand County Clerk’s office is located at the intersection of these two questions. Last week, County Clerk Sara Rosene shared an electronic registration fee comparison with commissioners from January through May to demonstrate the growth.
In 2019, 3,755 documents were registered. In 2020, despite the closure in March, 3,811 documents were registered over the same period. This year through May, by contrast, 5,847 documents were registered.
“This volume has just been huge,” Rosene said, explaining that the records include things like real estate sales. “It started last year and it hasn’t stopped.”
The clerk’s office also makes headlines for RVs and trailers, and Rosene said last year saw a big increase for snowmobiles, ATVs, UTVs, RVs and more. As for ordinary vehicles, sales have never slowed down despite the pandemic.
Rosene’s office did all of this while missing four of the 12 people. She has since hired a new staff member, but the office is still operating at 75% capacity.
One place where the numbers have not been taken is on the driver’s license side. Rosene has reduced services in this area due to a lack of employees.
The clerk’s office started offering licensing services a few years ago when the state office closed. While the county clerk’s office does not provide all licensing services, this is one of the few Colorado government offices that conduct test drives, which Rosene wants to keep as it is the only one. local option for new drivers in Grand County.
It is not a legal responsibility for the county clerk to issue driver’s licenses, which is why Rosene canceled these offers.
“We don’t do it five days a week because we just don’t have the staff for it right now,” Rosene explained.
As for items that must be fulfilled by Colorado law, like real estate registrations, his understaffed office is going until it’s done.
“We are working a lot of hours trying to get it done,” Rosene said. “We don’t end the day without this all over.”
County commissioners approved Rosene’s plan to use some of her savings from vacant positions to help recruit more workers. The clerk hopes the salary increase will help attract more employees.
“I hope once we air this it will make a difference,” she said.
The county clerk is not the only one having difficulty recruiting.
According to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, 303 job postings were posted online in Grand County on Saturday. The YMCA of the Rockies, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, Alterra Mountain Company, Ace Hardware and Sun Communities had the most openings.
All over the department, many companies are hiring. Like Rosene, some are changing services or schedules to handle demand while increasing wages in hopes of attracting more workers.
The county clerk added that she was grateful for the residents’ continued patients.
“I want to thank our residents of Grand County because in general people understand,” said Rosene. “We have a great team doing their best to get things done and we really get a lot of support from our community so I really appreciate that.”