Proposal to Eliminate Registry IT Technology Department- A Disaster
October 15, 2021
Dear Friend of the Norfolk Registry of Deeds and Registry Users,
RE: Registry CIO and Registry IT Department
The Abrahams study delivered recently to the Norfolk County Commissioners recommended not to keep the on-site Registry Chief Information Officer (CIO) that has been funded and in existence at the Norfolk Registry of Deeds for over 20 years. This paid consultant is also recommending eliminating entirely the on-site Registry IT Technology Department.
These recommendations will be a disaster to the operations of the Norfolk Registry of Deeds. It will be such an unsound public policy decision to not have an on-site in-house permanent Registry CIO and a Registry IT Technology Department working in the Registry building for and with the Registry staff, Registry users and the general public.
As an independently elected official legally tasked with running the Norfolk Registry of Deeds I feel it is my duty to point out that the Abrahams recommendation fails to recognize that the Registry IT Technology Department has been instrumental in implementing numerous modernization initiatives at the Norfolk Registry of Deeds. Technology drives services to Registry users and also protects the security of the data and land records that are used to authenticate the legal real estate title to your home and property. The solid foundation of technology at the Norfolk Registry of Deeds will crumble without a permanent on-site Registry CIO and without a Registry IT Technology Department. The Abrahams recommendation fails to recognize how essential and critical to the functioning of an independent and modern Registry of Deeds that an on-site Registry CIO and on-site Registry IT Department are.
The Registry IT Technology Department prior to the interference and influence of this Abrahams study had 2 full time permanent persons. Registry operations and Registry users deserve to have a permanent on-site Registry CIO and a Registry IT Technology Department physically at the Norfolk Registry of Deeds working on IT issues that come up on a daily basis. Not to fill permanently an on-site budgeted and existing Registry CIO in place for over 20 years and now to eliminate completely the on-site Registry IT Technology Department is unimaginable in this day and age of technology as well as cybersecurity risks and ransomware. It just makes absolutely no sense.
There will be disastrous operational results if the Abrahams IT recommendation is implemented that will negatively impact those that depend on the Registry for service – real estate brokers, banks, engineers, home appraisers, builders, title examiners, lenders, attorneys, home owners and the general public. Without a Registry IT Technology Department there are countless bad outcomes that can take place. If you are as concerned about this matter as I am, please feel free to contact the people who will be considering the Abrahams study recommendations. Attached is a contact list for the Norfolk County Commissioners and the Norfolk County Advisory Board which represents each of the 28 communities of Norfolk County who will be considering these IT recommendations. Also, please feel free to contact your select boards, town councils and mayors who appoint these voting representatives to the Norfolk County Advisory Board.
This paid consultant and his team had never studied a Registry of Deeds in Massachusetts or anywhere else. Furthermore, since October of 2020 when Mr. Abrahams was engaged by the Norfolk County Commissioners neither him nor his team ever even visited the Norfolk Registry of Deeds. Mark Abrahams as a consultant deals mainly with schools. This lack of familiarity and knowledge with Registry of Deeds operations is concerning as evidenced by Mr. Abrahams troubling conclusion to eliminate the established Norfolk Registry IT Technology Department and the dangerous negative impacts of that recommendation.
Let us hope better decisions and policies will come out of a full and vigorous vetting of the recommendations to eliminate the Registry CIO and the Registry IT Technology Department. Thank you for your continued patience and understanding as the Norfolk Registry of Deeds deals with this unfortunate situation.
William P. O'Donnell