Now that the state has taken from county clerks' offices the responsibility for district court record keeping, Utah County should consider eliminating the county clerk's office, County Commission Chairman Brent Morris says.
About 50 percent of the office's duties centered on court-related matter before the state took over the courts this month.Twelve of 18 clerk's office employees who worked for the county now are employed by the state.
Despite the cut in workload, however, County Clerk Bill Huish doesn't think Morris' proposal is such a good idea.
"I feel I should have at least two more people here to adequately run the office," Huish said.
Duties may have been cut in half, he said, but "we've lost more than 50 percent of our personnel in the transition."
Morris believes functions of the clerk's office could easily be consolidated into the county auditor's office.
He said the county must look for ways to improve administrative services, while saving taxpayers' money when possible.
Elimination of the clerk's position, Morris said, "is one of the easiest ways the county could save."
He said the county also could eliminate the position of chief deputy clerk.
Elimination of the two positions could save the county more than $100,000 annually, Morris said.
"It makes no sense having an elected official oversee a staff of five or six people, plus have a chief deputy," he said.
Having two officials supervise four other employees "doesn't make sense administratively."
If commissioners want to eliminate the clerk position by the time Huish is up for re-election in 1990, they must do so before next year's candidate filing deadline.
Huish, who has been clerk for 18 years, then would finish the remaining two years of his term or be paid off by the county.
"My personal feeling is that there's plenty of work here for a clerk to do," Huish said. "The problem is that very few commissioners in the state of Utah know what goes on in a clerk's office."
Now that last fall's general election is over and the state has taken over the court, he said, those ignorant of the clerk's duties ask the same old question: "Now what are you doing? I could say the same thing about a commission meeting. Once it's over, they go home because they have nothing to do."
Since the November election, Huish said, the clerk's office has processed more than 30,000 election-related computer transactions.
There's a lot more to elections that just election week - something Morris may find out the hard way if the clerk's office is eliminated, he said.
Huish said additional duties include processing marriage licenses and passports, certifying notaries, filing limited partnerships and providing the commission with clerical services.
Huish suggests that rather than make the clerk's duties part of the auditor's office, a consolidation of the clerk's and recorder's offices would be more appropriate.