Rita Vargas and Michele Darland running for Scott County recorder

2022-11-09 16:51:28 By : Mr. Ruifuer Wan

Get local news delivered to your inbox!

Voting partitions sit on tables at the Scott County Administrative Center as early voting continues ahead of the 2022 midterm elections Oct. 20, 2022, in Davenport. Sound Chip

Rita Vargas and Michele Darland running for Scott County recorder

Rita Vargas has spent nearly 20 years as Scott County Recorder, maintaining birth, death and marriage records, among others.

Challenging the Democrat for the seat is Michele Darland, a Republican from Davenport, who is a former event organizer and communications employee. 

The Recorder's Office also is responsible for maintaining real estate records, issuing hunting and fishing licenses, and registering recreational vehicles, such as boats, ATVs and snowmobiles.

The Recorder is elected every four years.

Occupation: development director for Gilda’s Club Quad Cities.

What experience do you have that qualifies you for the duties of this office?

Earlier in my career, I was the festival manager for the Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival where I had to collaborate and bring together the city government, the convention and visitors bureau, and all area nonprofits and corporations and get them to all work together to promote and be a part of the festival. It was not always easy but with a professional attitude and people skills, I made it happen.

As the communications specialist for Sedona Technologies, I had to manage technical projects for John Deere clients. I had to sell and market workflow software to John Deere Dealers which gave me a broader view of IT solutions and efficiencies and how they benefit the end user which would be beneficial to the Recorder’s office. I was later promoted to Corporate Communications which marketed all divisions within the Sedona Group.

I have a bachelor's in Communication Studies from the University of Iowa. I’m an avid volunteer in the community, having served on several boards such as the Child Abuse Council (now EveryChild), Ballet Quad Cities, Association of Fundraising Professionals. I have served as president of the Junior League of the Quad Cities and was Chair of Riverssance Festival of Fine Art. I currently serve as president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Quad Cities, and I am on the board for TEDxDavenport.

Davenport resident and community volunteer Michele Darland recently announced her intention to run for Scott County Recorder.

Occupation: Scott County Recorder for the past 19.8 years

Prior experience: I hold a Master’s in Public Administration from Drake University and I am a certified recorder through the Iowa County Recorders Association. I serve on the Vital Records Liaison Committee (VLC), and I am the Vice President of the Recorders Association District 6. I have served on many community organizations throughout the last 35 years, such as Dare, Big Brother/Big Sisters, Family Resources, Community Foundation, Ascentra Credit Union, and was the 2017 Honorary Survivor Chair for the QC Komen Race for the Cure. Most importantly, I bring 19 years of experience as your Scott County Recorder. In the past 19 years I have advanced the Recorder’s Office with the following initiatives;

What do you see as the purpose and mission of the Recorder’s Office? How can the Recorder’s Office better meet that mission over the next four years? (Written responses follow)

Vargas: To serve the people of Scott County, the real estate, legal, and lending industries, and provide the highest quality of service. By providing 40 years of high-quality images we will allow end users to have high-quality abstract and title work in a timely manner.

My proven leadership, commitment, and vision for the Recorder’s Office have been put into action and these technological advancements were possible due to my knowledgeable, dedicated, and exceptional staff.

What is your No. 1 priority if elected this term?

Darland: ... to provide unmatched service to the residents of Scott County. In order to provide these services, I vow to be present, in the office, accountable and a leader for my team eight hours a day, five days a week.

It is important for the taxpayers of Scott County to be able to apply for and renew passports, once again, five days a week during the full eight-hour workday. Also, I would not inconvenience the citizens of Scott County by having them come in person to have any questions answered and instead allow the experienced staff to answer questions over the phone and not require them to do their research on their own. We are a resource for the people, we must be accessible.

Vargas: We are near completion of a four-year project of converting our film to an electronic data format dating back to 1971, which will provide our end users with 40 years of real estate documents for abstract and title work. The import of the data to our current Cott System will be coinciding with our vendor contract agreement, so negotiations for the hosting cost will be held between Cott, IT Department, and my management team. The next priority will be the preservation and accessibility of our historical real estate books with a 2023-2026 plan to employ Online Digital Books application (OIB), a convenient platform for viewing historical books.

What, if anything, should be changed to how the Recorder’s Office operates?

Darland: I would implement or continue the following:

Vargas: Following the recommendations of a workflow study, the office has been operating on a rotation schedule for our multi-purpose clerks, which gives the office cross-training and retention of the three departments' operational functions. This has led to a teamwork atmosphere, improved efficiencies, and fostered positive working relationships and collaboration between departments. In a few departments, training is provided by the state office that governs said department, and staff must pass the web-based training module. There is always room for improvement, but currently, I see no need to make changes to our office operations.

Get local news delivered to your inbox!

Bettendorf, East Moline, and Silvis Reporter

Sarah is the Davenport, Scott County, and Iowa politics reporter for the Quad-City Times/Dispatch-Argus. A DeWitt native, she graduated from the University of Iowa in 2021 and was editor of the student-run newspaper The Daily Iowan.

Email notifications are only sent once a day, and only if there are new matching items.

Voting partitions sit on tables at the Scott County Administrative Center as early voting continues ahead of the 2022 midterm elections Oct. 20, 2022, in Davenport.

Davenport resident and community volunteer Michele Darland recently announced her intention to run for Scott County Recorder.

Rita Vargas and Michele Darland running for Scott County recorder

Baby Story Book Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.