Created: October 06, 2020 07:26 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Coronavirus lockdown-caused backlogs at the Monroe County Clerk’s office touched off a fierce debate between the current county clerk, Democrat Jamie Romeo, and her Republican challenger, Karla Boyce.
“The current state of the county clerk’s office is unacceptable,” Boyce declared in a Tuesday press conference in Pittsford.
Boyce insisted she understands the coronavirus created a backlog in government offices which were locked down for months, but she urged voters to choose her to repair a County Clerk’s Office she says is in a state of “disarray” that makes things worse.
“Wait times over a month for DMV appointments,” she said, “residents forced to go to other counties to conduct your business and mail-in transactions not processed for days?”
Boyce spoke at the Pittsford Town Hall, which used to have a mobile DMV but hasn’t since County Clerk Romeo removed the mobile DMVs and consolidated operations at the County Office Building.
Boyce says delays in county clerk services like real estate transactions, hunting and fishing permits and professional licensing have crippled businesses.
“The county clerks’ offices across New York State have found ways to adapt and overcome challenges related to COVID-19,” she said. “Yet, our county clerk’s office remains effectively shuttered.”
“To say that our office has been effectively shuttered is ridiculous,” Romeo shot back. “In the month of August alone, we had over 11,000 appointments for our DMV branches.”
Romeo says the clerk’s office has been making dramatic progress in catching up after its long shutdown but is also being smart and safe, especially when it comes to the mobile DMVs which didn’t have the same ability to be made COVID safe.
“While I know that Karla thinks we just need to snap our fingers and hire more people and just expand our operations, we have been trying to consolidate operations to make sure our workers are in a safe and healthy work environment,” Romeo said. “I think the staff at the county clerk’s office deserve an apology.”
Romeo said, in some areas, the clerk’s office is outperforming even where it was last year before coronavirus brought down the lockdowns.
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