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How A Small County Clerk Office Is Leading the Charge to Big Innovation in Texas

County Clerk Christie Wakefield has served Leon County as a deputy clerk in 1999 and as Clerk since 2011. Together, Christie and her staff of four have helped lead the charge in bringing innovation into Leon County. These innovations have inspired many of Avenu’s advanced features offered in Clearview 2020 Plus benefiting recorders and clerks nationwide.

I had the chance to interview Christie in a recent trip to Texas and here’s what she shared.

How have you developed a reputation for being an innovator among County Clerks?
I believe in working smarter, not harder. That’s why I’m always interested in testing new technologies that can make our lives easier and more streamlined. By constantly watching and evaluating processes and systems in place with an eye to automate and streamline daily tasks, we can better serve our constituents and keep overhead costs and staffing low. Additionally, these upgrades are expected to increase creativity, value, and most importantly, team morale. Most of us have been together for 20 years.

Working in a small town gives you the ability to be in tune with your constituents. What do your constituents want today?
It depends. I find that in the age of the internet, that the younger generation wants things at their fingertips. Instant access. They also want the ability to search for records online versus driving several hours to come into the office. Yet, the older generations want more time and personal attention. The fact that Leon County is located over two hours from Dallas and Houston, we see more requests for online services.

Can you describe your experience with Clearview 2020 Plus?
Absolutely! We are still learning the system and I already love the Clearview 2020 Plus program for a variety of reasons. The scanning/barcode system has saved my staff an immense amount of time since they no longer have to file stamp each page. They print a cover sheet, scan the document, and within minutes it is digitized with a barcode stamp on each page. Then we can hand it back to our customer; Clearview 2020 Plus makes it easier to search through records, provides e-certification and e-filing, and greatly reduces our postage costs.

Can you elaborate on how your office has benefited from the extra time Clearview 2020 Plus has provided?
Using a system like Clearview 2020 allows our team to devote extra care and attention to the constituents who come into our office in need of our help. We’ve also been able to take on extra projects that previously we didn’t have time to tackle. In fact, having Clearview 2020 Plus has enabled us to complete a probate project which digitized our records all the way back to 1848.  We’ve received an extremely positive response from our constituents who now access these historical records online

You’re frequently a beta-tester for new products and modules. How do you best determine what to try next?
I’ve seen a big influx of technology over the years. If there is anything new that shows promise, I want to be the first to try. Because we’re focused on efficiencies, we’re a small, nimble team and we adjust quickly. There are some ups and downs during testing, but once we get through the early phases, we’re off and running to get things done. The increased productivity is worth it.

You mentioned earlier that most of your staff has been together for the last 20 years. What’s your secret to keeping a team together?
I pride myself on keeping a happy work environment. Over the last 20 years we have become a second family to each other. Our team is amazing, and I always get input from my staff before making a decision. They are the ones doing the jobs and I don’t pretend to know it all or have insight into all aspects. Ultimately the decision is mine, but I truly value my team and their contributions; they’re my greatest resource.

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