September 13, 2011
County Clerk’s Initiatives Save the Environment, Time, and Money
WHITE PLAINS, NY: When he walked into his new office in January of 2006, County Clerk Timothy C. Idoni was greeted by hundreds of boxes filled to the brim with records and files that needed to be reviewed, processed and stored or returned. “I immediately recognized that we needed to figure out how to eliminate our reliance on paper”, said Idoni. “Electronic or “e” initiatives were exactly what our office needed to join the 21st century and we quickly realized these green government solutions would not only help the environment but also save money and time.”
Five and a half years later, the office is looking very different as a series of national and state award-winning solutions have been implemented. Idoni began by partnering with the state to have paperless tax warrants electronically filed in his Legal Division. Once that program was successfully implemented, a web-based e-filing system was provided to customers allowing them to file paperless Uniform Commercial Code statements which are commonly filed in connection with the purchase of a cooperative apartment. Next came the release of Westchester Records Online which represented an upgrade and expansion of the records that customers could view online from the comfort and convenience of a home or office. This project earned national recognition from the Center for Digital Government and saved customers the time and expense associated with travelling to White Plains. The office’s most recent initiative is the implementation of e-filing in the courts through the New York State Courts Electronic Filing (NYSCEF) System. Currently, over half of all new civil actions are being electronically filed providing benefits for filers, the clerk’s office and the courts.
With electronic filing in the Legal Division growing each day, Idoni is refocusing on efforts to reduce the reliance on paper in his Land Records Division. “We took a huge leap forward earlier this summer in our quest to go paperless when the state legislature lifted the barriers to electronic recording of documents such as deeds and mortgages,” shared Idoni, who worked with legislators, attorneys, bankers, title professionals and his fellow clerks to open the door to e-recording in New York State. “This legislation will allow us to build upon our successful PREP System which has improved recording times while saving the county over $500,000 each year since it was launched.” The legislation, which is awaiting signature by the Governor, was sponsored by Westchester legislators Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assemblyman George Latimer. “The passage of this important legislation demonstrates a commitment to protecting and sustaining our environment. It’s a wonderful bonus that we save tax dollars as well,” concluded Idoni.
Idoni serves as co-chair of the Legislative Committee and eRecording Committee of the New York State Association of County Clerks. For more information on the Office of the County Clerk, call (914)995-3080 or visit www.WestchesterClerk.com.