Monday, April 23, 2007

O'Malley in the hot seat

At 11:09 am today, Channel 7 became the first media outlet with enough cohones to investigate allegations of impropriety by an incumbent in the Denver municipal elections.

Stephanie O'Malley hasn't been elected before, but she is the appointed Clerk & Recorder, which means we can evaluate not only her statements, but also her performance on the job.

We invite all voters to read "Foreclosures Held Up Because Of Clerk's Failure To Follow Law" and decide whether the allegations represent a serious public failing.

Below is an excerpt:
Hundreds of mortgage foreclosures worth millions of dollars are being held up because the Denver Clerk and Public Trustee failed to follow state law.

The state law requires that homeowners be notified of the foreclosure within 20 days before proceedings can move forward, and a Notice of Election and Demand must also be recorded by the Denver Public Trustee. The law is in place so that a homeowner is given time to pay any back payments and fees.

Stephanie O'Malley was appointed Clerk and Public Trustee by Mayor John Hickenlooper in January, and is running for election as the permanent Denver Clerk and Recorder, which would make her responsible for fixing the city's troubled elections.

When O'Malley took the job of Clerk and Public Trustee, she inherited a backlog of hundreds of foreclosures.

The build up may mean some Denver residents get to stay in their homes for free.

"It takes time for me as an individual to get up to speed, to understand the nature of the business around here. You know, as much as I want to sit here and claim I've been a clerk and recorder before or a deputy public trustee, I have not," O'Malley said.

...There have now been almost 1,000 foreclosures withdrawn.

O'Malley's critics question her ability to run elections in light of the problems with the foreclosure issue, but she said she can do the job if she has enough people and resources to make it work.
Update 4/23: Dear Denver has offered a longer view of failures in the Clerk & Recorders office, trailing back to Rosemary Rodriguez's tenure in that office. She also notes that if all of these appointed leaders are failing, perhaps those placing them in the office (namely, John Hickenlooper over the last 4 years) are also failing us.

No comments: