Clerk’s Office puts a face on Pitkin County
The Aspen Times
Call them the offensive linemen of Pitkin County employees.
For the Clerk and Recorder’s Office, run by Janice Vos Caudill, that’s a fair comparison in football terms. Offensive linemen seldom get much credit during a football game and often go unnoticed if they’re doing their job well. Most of the time, the only way an offensive linemen gets noticed is when they do something wrong.
“I’d agree with that,” Vos Caudill said. “It does seem like the only time we get any recognition is when we make a mistake, which isn’t that often. We’re happy to do our job in anonymity.”
Not that the public doesn’t interact with the Clerk and Recorder’s Office. In fact, it’s the main liaison between the public and the county. As the Pitkin County clerk and recorder, Vos Caudill oversees four departments: the Clerk of the Board, Elections, the Motor Vehicle Department and the Recording Department.
“Most of the time, when the public needs help from the county, those people end up here at the Clerk and Recorder’s Office,” she said. “We often end up being the face of Pitkin County.”
Vos Caudill was born and raised in Wisconsin and is a proud farmer’s daughter, giving credit to her days on the farm, where she developed a solid work ethic. She moved to Colorado in 1998 and worked for the city of Aspen until she was appointed county clerk in 2005.
The list of accomplishments has continued to grow in the nine years she’s worked for the county. Vos Caudill already upgraded the computer systems in three of her departments, with more planned upgrades slated for the next few years.
She continues to add more online services for the public to access. Instead of having to physically go to the courthouse plaza, the public can now go online and register to vote, apply for a marriage or civil-union license, access property records or apply for a liquor license.
“We’ve scanned all the Board of County Commissioners documents for the public to access going back to 1881,” Vos Caudill said. “We also formatted the Pitkin County code online and linked it to the legislative history and formatted the county home rule charter online. I’m hoping more people take advantage of our online services. We had lines out the door this past week for the Motor Vehicles Department because we were understaffed. I know how frustrating it is to wait.”
Vos Caudill also got the OK from the county commissioners to move Pitkin County into a mail-in election ballot system in 2009. In 2013, it was legislated in Colorado to go to an all-mail-in ballot system that allows residents to cast their votes earlier and allows for voters to drop off their ballots at any polling center.
“With the new online voting laws, I feel it’s more efficient and provides more opportunities for the public to vote,” Vos Caudill said. “It‘s really streamlined the workload within our department.”
The four departments have plenty of work to keep Vos Caudill busy, which is where she would prefer to put most of her energy. However, she finds herself spending more and more time interpreting legislation that affects clerk and recorder’s offices throughout the state.
“The amount of legislation I deal with has increased 400 percent since I took this position,” she said. “When I first started, there were maybe 20 pieces of legislation that I had to keep track of that affected my departments. Now I’m watching upwards of 90 pieces.”
Despite the pressure of being a county face to the public, Vos Caudill said her co-workers are always up to the daily challenges, and she considers them one of the real rewards of her job.
“It certainly isn’t easy to accomplish all the mandated tasks we see in this department,” Vos Caudill said. “But at the same time, it’s incredibly rewarding to work with this staff. I’m so proud of what they accomplish week after week.”
Clerk and recorder specialist Tammie Driscol has worked for the county for 17 years, and she feels fortunate to have a boss like Vos Caudill.
“I knew her when she worked for the city,” Driscol said. “I was a huge supporter to have Janice come work for the county. She’s always encouraging us to work as a team and treat one another like family. She really listens to us and lets us know she’s very proud of her staff. We all take our jobs seriously, but Janice allows us to have fun, and we appreciate that.”
Vos Caudill maintains an eye on the future and hopes to keep adding online services for the public. She has her staff working to record images of all recording documents back to 1881 to post online and allow for greater research capabilities. She’ll also be implementing the new state motor-vehicle online system.
This year is an election year for the clerk and recorder, but since Vos Caudill took the position in 2005, nobody has chosen to run against her for the job.
“I’m not really sure why nobody wants to run against me,” she said. “The joke in our department is, ‘Who would want this job?’ But really, it’s very rewarding. I love this staff and accomplishing the goals we set. If only we had more time and more money, then it would be perfect here.”
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