In two weeks, Deb Wright will have served in the county recorder’s office for 23 years.
In 2022, she’s hoping voters will elect her as the county recorder, a position she previously served in from 2007 to 2014.
“There’s a two consecutive term limit. You can only run twice in a row,” she said during an interview in the office of the current recorder, Joetta Mitchell.
Between 2014 and now, Wright served as chief deputy under Mitchell. Before serving as recorder from 2007-14, Wright served as chief deputy for at least four years under then county recorder LaShawn Brumfield Love. Wright joined the recorder’s office in November 1998 under Alice Anglin.
During Wright’s first term in office, she earned Certified County Official status through the Association of Indiana Counties in partnership with Ivy Tech, according to a resume she provided.
Mitchell’s term expires Dec. 31, 2022, and she’s going to retire.
Asked why she decided to seek the recorder’s position again, Wright said, “It is something that I always said I would gladly do again because I really enjoyed it and I love my job here.”
When the recorder’s office staff discussed among themselves who was going to do what when Mitchell retires, Wright said it just came down to her deciding she would definitely do it again.
“I always said I would, and I’m happy to do it. I like being a public servant. I love my job, love my office so I’m happy to do it again,” Wright said.
One question she says she gets a lot is, what does a recorder do?
“Our primary thing is when you buy a house, refinance a house – deed records, mortgage records – that’s the bulk of what we do. We do maintain some other records like federal tax liens, public official bonds, just some other miscellaneous things. But primarily land records,” Wright explained.
As the recorder, she will handle the administrative stuff like payroll and paying the bills, but “you’re also doing the day-to-day recording of stuff and whatever as is necessary. So you’re definitely a working recorder where you’re doing both, which is good. Which is definitely good,” she said.
Having the experience she has gained in her two decades in the office, Wright said she can jump in to help do whatever needs to be done in the office.
The recorder’s office has four full-time employees, including the recorder.
“It is not a large staff, which makes it nice and easy. Sometimes the hardest part of being a boss is managing the people. If you’ve ever been a boss, managing people is tough, and sometimes you’re not very good at it, so when you have a smaller staff, it’s a lot easier because you have less issues, less personalities, so that’s always a plus,” she said with a laugh.
When Wright ran for her first term in 2006, she had an opponent. Wright won with over 66% of the voters and all of the townships except Turkey Creek.
“So I was pretty pleased with that. But that was the last time it was contested,” she said.
Wright said she feels like Brumfield really set a good example and created a really good atmosphere and she and Mitchell just continued that. They’ve kept up with the changes in technology and providing good customer service, she said.
“Public service, we do take that seriously. People often don’t like coming into the courthouse because they’re intimidated, but we do our best to try to make people feel comfortable. We literally are here to serve them. But that’s kind of what we’ve always tried to focus on,” Wright said.
Since her first term as recorder, technology in the office has changed quite a bit and continues to change.
Wright said during her first two terms, a lot of technology changed.
“We brought credit card and debit card ability to the county. I believe we were the first office to offer it. We started eRecording. We started online availability of documents for people to access. We did a lot of back-scanning of old records and Joetta continued that, to do a lot of back-scanning,” she said.
The office’s large format copier – the plat copier – is constantly changing. She said keeping that updated is important.
“It is nice because it scans in documents, so it kind of serves a lot of offices, so that’s a plus. She’s getting ready to upgrade that,” Wright said.
Because of the technology changes over the years, starting when Brumfield was recorder, Wright said the recorder’s office has downsized quite a bit.
“At this point, I’m not sure we can downsize staff. We have a lot of long-time employees, very loyal employees, so with that comes earned time-off and whatnot. Also, it’s very market dependent. We can have a day where we have 50 documents, we can have a day where we have 150 documents. So, staff-wise, it would remain the same. Technology-wise, again, just keep moving forward, keeping up with the latest,” she said.
Even with the technology, Wright said people still do come into the office for assistance.
She was born and raised in the Warsaw and Winona Lake area and resides in Warsaw. Her parents are Bob and Carolyn Wulliman, and her sister is Diane Wulliman. She and her husband Andy have a daughter, Raygan, who is a senior at Lakeland Academy. Wright, who will turn 52 in March, graduated from Warsaw Community High School in 1988, and she attended Indiana State University.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity,” Wright said, in closing, about running for the office again. “In two weeks, it’s 23 years I’ve been in this office. Obviously, I like it, and truly I love it. I’m just excited about the opportunity about hopefully being elected again.”