June 20, 2011
County Clerk Tim Idoni Instrumental in Passage
Westchester County Clerk Timothy C. Idoni came across a surprising fact early in his first term. New York was one of only two states which lacked legislation allowing for the electronic recording of land records such as deeds and mortgages. Not long after that, New York was the only state to hold that distinction. “To think that New York was the very last state to bring the recording of land records into the 21st century was hard to believe,” began Idoni. “Imagine if Wall Street was still using paper tickets and you will get a sense of the efficiencies that electronic recording will bring the land records industry.”
In 2009, Idoni turned to his colleagues in the New York State Association of County Clerks (NYSACC) and began to make a strong case for electronic recording, arguing that it would provide benefits to our customers while also allowing clerks to save tax dollars through reduced scanning and mailing costs. This resulted in Idoni being chosen by his NYSACC colleagues to lead an eRecording Committee along with New York City Register Annette Hill. This committee worked with partners in the New York State Bar Association, the New York State Land Title Association and the New York Bankers Association to propose legislation authorizing electronic recording.
Twenty-eight months later, the legislature has opened the door to the electronic recording of land records. The enabling legislation, which passed both the Senate (S.2373A) and the Assembly (A6870A) on June 16, 2011, provides that electronic recording will be authorized in one year, allowing time for statewide standards to be set. When electronic recording goes into effect, each County Clerk or the City Register will choose whether to participate. A participating office will provide the following options:
- Hardcopy paper filings can still be delivered for recording; or
- Hardcopy paper filings can be scanned by a customer and electronically submitted for recording; or
- An electronic record, containing any necessary electronic signatures, can be electronically submitted for recording.
Idoni expressed his gratitude to Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assemblyman George Latimer who saw the value of the proposed legislation and were its prime sponsors. “This a common sense way to improve government efficiency throughout the State and save taxpayer dollars. Not only does it allow county clerks to provide better service with fewer resources, it makes the process much more convenient for filers,” said Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins. "Westchester County Clerk Tim Idoni has been a tireless advocate for this legislation, and I would like to thank him for his leadership. I look forward to continuing to explore other cost-effective measures like this that will save taxpayer money and enhance services," Stewart-Cousins concluded.
"I was pleased to sponsor this important bill in the Assembly,” began Assembly George Latimer. “The work that Tim Idoni has accomplished in bringing this idea into reality will save taxpayers' money and speed the administrative process. We owe Tim a debt of thanks for his outstanding work on this issue". Idoni also noted the assistance of the staffs of Governor Paterson, Governor Cuomo, the Assembly Judiciary Committee and Albany County Clerk Thomas Clingan, in the drafting of the legislation.