ELECTON 2018: Montgomery County recorder candidates at odds over electronic filing of records


The February death of longtime Montgomery County Recorder Willis Blackshear set up the Nov. 6 race between Brandon McClain, who was appointed by fellow Democrats to fill the post, and Republican challenger Adil Baguirov, a former Dayton school board president.

ELECTION 2018: Dayton Daily News voter guide

Baguirov, the co-founder of a local trucking company owner and real estate investor, said if elected he will work quickly to upgrade technology that he says lagged for years as other counties moved ahead.

“If you look at the recorder’s office right now and compare it to other recorder’s offices throughout Ohio, including ones nearby like Miami County, like Clark, Greene, Hamilton, Warren, you will see that we are severely behind,” he said. “We are seven years behind on the fraud alert, for example. We are five years behind on e-recording. And some say actually longer than that.”

MORE: Willis Blackshear dies: Longtime county official worked to save people’s homes, ‘not afraid to speak up’

McClain, in office about seven full months, disagrees.

“That claim is completely without base. Our office runs in a very efficient manner,” he said. “Since I obtained this office in March of this year, I implemented measures to make the office even more effective.”

McClain, who served more recently as a magistrate and acting judge in Dayton Municipal Court presiding over landlord/tenant and real estate cases, said a fraud notification system he implemented within two months of getting the job is the most robust in the state.

RELATED: New county scam alert keeps ‘an eye on your property when you can’t’

Those enrolling can receive an email, a letter or both whenever a new deed, a mortgage or a lien is filed on property. Montgomery County’s system is tied to the actual parcel ID and not to an owner’s name, making it a more secure system, McClain said. About 5,000 people have signed up for the notifications.

McClain said he has authorized implementation of an e-recording system that is being developed in-house by county programmers and will take about a year and half to complete.

Baguirov contends that is too long.

“I can do that in the first several months of my first year,” he said.

An e-recording system would let those closing on property sales file necessary paperwork remotely without physically taking paper files to the recorder’s office. According to the Ohio Recorder’s Association, 28 counties offer e-recording services.

Baguirov said he would bid out the project to the five state-approved vendors, calling McClain’s plan to develop the service in-house a “terrible idea.”

“That’s not the forte of Montgomery County programmers,” Baguirov said. “I will have a requirement that whichever system wins, it will be backward compatible with all these other systems. We will never be at a disadvantage, and that’s very important.”

Both candidates said the e-recording systems will be implemented without cost to taxpayers, save money and generate more revenue for the county.

McClain earned a master’s degree at the University of Cincinnati and a juris doctor at the University of Dayton School of Law. He worked in private practice and as an attorney with the Montgomery County Public Defender’s Office, and he is a veteran who achieved the rank of sergeant in the Army National Guard.

MORE: Montgomery County Dems appoint county recorder

Baguirov, who immigrated to the U.S. when he was 16 from the former Soviet Union, earned advanced degrees at both the University of Southern California and Moscow State Institute of International Relations. He was first elected to the Dayton Board of Education in November 2013.

Baguirov did not run for re-election to the school board last year and stepped down a month before the end of his term, citing plans to establish residency in Butler Twp. and run for the Ohio House of Representatives 40th District seat. Ultimately, Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer became the Republican candidate in the house race and will face Democrat Ryan Taylor.

MORE: Baguirov steps down early from Dayton school board

Because he’s a Realtor, Baguirov said he’s better suited for the job than McClain.

“I have far more in common with virtually anyone wanting to use County Recorder’s services than my opponent – my personal and business experience will allow me to better relate to homeowners, taxpayers, and Realtors, to help them navigate the unwelcome bureaucracy and find the right solutions quickly, thus saving time and money.”

But the Dayton Area Board of Realtors PAC, as well as most major police and labor unions, have endorsed McClain.

“The real estate market is one of the foundational blocks of a strong and vibrant economy,” McClain said. “I have worked with real estate professionals for years, and I believe that work and genuine dedication to our community earned me that endorsement. I just didn’t start working with the real estate market a few months ago as my opponent did.”

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