CLAY COUNTY — In the November general election, incumbent Clay County Recorder of Deeds Katee Porter, a Republican, will face off against challenger and Democrat Bruce Cantwell Jr., for the four-year seat.

To help voters educate themselves on where the two stand on issues, each candidate was sent a questionnaire.

Each candidate was limited to 75 words per answer. Answers longer than 75 words are marked with an “...”

What is the biggest issue in the recorder’s office and how would you work to resolve it?

Porter: “During this term, I resolved many issues including providing better access by opening a second office located at the Annex, setting up an account so that credit cards can be accepted, changing office policy to bring it into compliance with changing laws and securing additional ways to protect copies of documents within our care. Document security remains a top continuing priority as well as cutting costs and making the office as transparent as possible.”

Cantwell: “I have no knowledge of issues within the recorder’s office. If there are than I would work with the staff to see how things can be solve in the best interest of the Clay County residents.”

Do you feel Clay County government has an issue with transparency? If so, what are the specific issues and how would you resolve them, if elected?

Porter: “Some offices of Clay County have issues with lack of transparency, but the recorder’s office does not. Documents recorded in our office are public unless portions of them must be redacted by law. The annual budget for the office and expenditure categories with total amounts spent are listed on the recorder’s website along with information regarding the Recorder’s Preservation Fund including revenues received by and expenditures made out of the fund with a running balance. ...”

Cantwell: “I do not feel, at this time, (there is) any issue with the transparency.”

Does the recorder’s office use enough technology to make accessing and filing public documents an efficient process for all? If not, how would you change it, if elected.

Porter: “Yes. A large portion of recorded documents are available online upon signing up for free document access. This allows the public to search our database and print documents from their own computer on their schedule at no cost. As for filing, many title companies, attorneys and other real estate entities utilize electronic recording. At this time, individuals cannot e-record due to necessary training and required safeguards. We are always looking to improve access.”

Cantwell: “At this time, I feel that the recorder’s office uses enough technology for citizens to access public documents.”

Do you have any personal professional dealings that could be considered a conflict of interest with the operations of the office of Recorder of Deeds?

Porter: “No. The recorder’s office follows statutory requirements for each document presented for filing so each document is rejected or accepted according to those requirements. Fees charged are set by statute based on document type and page count. Documents cannot be recorded except through the computer which creates a paper trail. As an attorney, our licensing board holds me to higher ethical standards than the typical elected official is held to by the Missouri Ethics Commission.”

Cantwell: “I do not have any personal dealing that would cause me to have a conflict of interest for the office of Recorder of Deeds.”

Managing Editor Amanda Lubinski can be reached at or 903-6001.

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