County clerk touts years of experience in bid for re-election
In her first term as Mesa County clerk and recorder, Sheila Reiner said she has worked to make her office run more efficiently in the face of county budget cuts, given her employees the freedom to do the same and ensure elections operate smoothly and with integrity.
She said she plans to do more of the same, should voters give her another four years.
The lifelong county resident told The Daily Sentinel editorial board Monday her top priorities are to continue to focus on elections, provide good customer service and implement reforms in the recording and motor vehicle divisions to bring them up to date technologically.
Reiner began working in the Clerk and Recorder’s Office in 2001 and moved her way up through the ranks before being elected clerk in 2010. This time, unlike four years ago, the Republican faces a challenger in Democrat Jennifer Manzanares.
Reiner touted her years of experience in the office, noting she’s familiar with all aspects of the office. Manzanares is a former Clerk and Recorder’s Office employee who ultimately quit rather than be fired by the county in 2010. The county ultimately paid Manzanares unemployment benefits after a months-long legal battle.
During a recent debate, Manzanares said she would employ a staff member solely to screen customers as they enter the Clerk and Recorder’s Office to make sure they have all the paperwork they need.
While that is “a good goal,” Reiner said, it’s not practical.
“It’s not worth paying another person out front, whether it’s busy or not,” she said.
Reiner said she and her staff have implemented a number of measures to enhance customer service and eliminate inefficiencies and waste, some of which she said originated from an acknowledgment that “we did that because that was the way we always did it.” For example, the office installed video cameras so customers could log onto the county’s website and view wait times in real time and eliminated the requirement that it keep two paper copies of every marriage license.
She said she has given her staff the ability to be creative in finding solutions, noting that “it doesn’t have to be my idea, it just has to work.”
Reiner said her office recently purchased a $250,000 ballot sorter, a piece of equipment that does everything from taking an image of an envelope and opening it to recording the location where the ballot was cast and electronically verifying signatures. She estimates the equipment will pay for itself in four years.
Reiner has clashed with Secretary of State Scott Gessler on multiple elections issues over the years, including Gessler’s claims that thousands of non-citizens were voting illegally. Ultimately, only a handful of cases were referred to prosecutors.
Reiner said the “cause is worthy” to make sure the state’s voter rolls are clean, “but we have to have a good set of data to work with and that’s reliable before we charge down that road.”