There is no bad choice in the race for Del Norte County clerk/recorder.
Voters can opt to retain acting Clerk/Recorder Alissia Northrup, who took on the role after the resignation of Vicki Frazier last year. Or they can go with challenger Allen Winogradov, currently the county’s assistant director of information technology.
Northrup may be the safer choice. She’s off to a solid start in her new role of overseeing elections, being the keeper of public documents and serving as the county’s public administrator. She’s been working in the Clerk/Recorder’s Office since 2003 and is already smoothly supervising a staff that provides a wide array of public services.
Winogradov is not a stranger to the office, where he has provided technical services over the past few years. He has called for automating many of its services, and says he has the personal expertise to efficiently make more of the county’s public documents accessible on the Internet.
Whoever wins will face the challenge of running a multi-faceted operation on a tight budget.
Northrup has been overcoming challenges for months. For starters, she hasn’t had an assistant clerk/recorder, since that was the role she held before taking over the top spot. The assistant’s position will be filled after the election.
And then there has been the extra work: verifying the signatures on all those petitions that have been circulating in the city of Crescent City to recall various officials, roll back sewer rates and remove fluoride from the municipal water supply.
It’s a complex task, because the petitions were signed by plenty of registered voters who happen to live outside our rather haphazard city boundaries. It’s also a thankless task, because the driving force behind most of those petitions is City Councilwoman Donna Westfall, who sees government conspiracies around every corner and wasn’t satisfied with the counting process when her recall efforts fell far short of the required valid signatures.
While Northrup can point to what she has already accomplished with a short-handed staff, Winogradov can point to his potential. His technical expertise would certainly come in handy in an office charged with overseeing public records, and he talks energetically about the potential to make those records more accessible, especially on the Internet. He also proposes more cross-training so that any employee of the office can provide public assistance – even if the staff specialist in a certain area such as elections or property records isn’t available.
Winogradov’s background isn’t all technical – he got the chance to hone his people skills as the county’s emergency services coordinator. Again, he may not be as safe of a choice as Northrup. Maybe his ascension to the top spot would cause needless friction in the Clerk/Recorder’s Office – Northrup would return to her assistant position if she lost the election. Or maybe his fresh approach and technical expertise would raise the office to new heights.
We think Winogradov is worth the risk. We also think Northrup has already shown she can do the job, and probably will thrive in the position with more experience and a full staff. So it’s a happy set of circumstances that results in no Triplicate endorsement – or rather a dual endorsement – in the race for county clerk/recorder.
— The Triplicate