for Register of Deeds, Essex Southern District
Copyright © Committee to Elect Jonathan Ring. All Rights Reserved.
I believe it is time to depoliticize this office, remove all conflicts of interest, and advocate for ways to improve the functioning and service of this office that tax payers and homeowners depend on. I will work toward these goals, and I appreciate your vote on election day!
As your Register, I will
* Focus on Customer service - the Registry is for the People NOT Politics!
* Preserve our physical records and upgrade the Registry's E-Filing system.
* Enhance the Property Fraud Watch Program to better protect homeowners.
* Fight to end conflicts of interest in the management of the Registry office.
* Push for a law that prohibits registry employees from donating to Register candidates.
* Term Limit myself for this office (2 terms).
The Registry of Deeds Essex Southern District includes the following towns:
Amesbury, Beverly, Boxford, Danvers, Essex, Georgetown, Gloucester, Groveland, Hamilton, Haverhill, Ipswich, Lynn, Lynnfield, Manchester, Marblehead, Merrimac, Middleton, Nahant, Newbury, Newburyport, Peabody, Rockport, Rowley, Salem, Salisbury, Saugus, Swampscott, Topsfield, Wenham, and West Newbury.
Election Day: Tuesday, November 6th, 2018.
These questions were submitted to me in October, 2018 and is due to be published by the League of Women voters soon, along with the Q and A of other candidates. You can go to the League of Women Voters website for an update. Go to http://www.lwvma.org to learn more.
Q and A:
1. What are the two major issues facing the office you seek and how would you address them?
We should enhance the E-Filing system for documents while protecting the physical integrity of documents. I will work with other Registries and professionals to find the best solutions. We need to clean out conflicts of interests and corrupt campaign practices in the Registry office. The incumbent used his office to acquire private information of employees to solicit employees for campaign donations, a violation of ethics and conflict of interest laws, and a violation of the public trust.
2. The Massachusetts Senate recently passed a bill raising fees for a variety of transactions at registries of deeds. Do you support fee increases?
I do not support these fee increases. The Registry of Deeds brought in an additional 2.2%, or $3.8 million in fees in June, and revenue increased, in 2018, to over $36 million. The Senate did not raise the fees to fix a deficit in the department or the state, but rather to raise funds for CPA. While CPA is important, not every Registry customer benefits from CPA. The fee increases is a tax hike to registry users. It also taxes one group of people to benefit a different group of people.
3. How would you fight against property fraud in Massachusetts?
Our home is one of our most valuable assets and white-collar fraud is one of the most devastating because it undermines a life time of hard work and investment. I would look for ways to improve the Registry's online property fraud watch program to prevent white-collar criminals from gaining access to email alerts about an owner's property transfers. I would also review proposals to enhance the Registry's recording process to more thoroughly vet and authenticate documents to prevent fraud. *(I will continue the Registry's educational seminars on the fraud watch program, and consumer education about the benefits of the Homestead Protection Act.)
* Added after Voter Guide Answers submitted.
Questions and Answers with the North Shore Labor Council, AFL-CIO
On October 19th the North Shore Labor Council sent me a Questionnaire as part of their consideration for endorsement. To learn more about their organization you can go to www.nslaborcouncil.org. Here are their questions and my answers:
Q and A:
1. Why are you running?
As a life long North Shore resident and Community Advocate I want to be your next Register of Deeds because I believe strongly in producing a government that serves you, the voter, tax payer, and homeowner - and because the deed to your home is your most valuable asset. Unfortunately, the management of the Registry of Deeds has become too politicized. Government resources have been used in violation of campaign ethics laws, by the current office holder, for solicitation purposes of Registry employees. I want to get the Registry to focus on customer service, to get politics and conflicts of interest out of the Registry of Deeds, to enhance our e-filing system, and to enhance the Property Fraud Watch Program to better protect homeowners. I also support term limits and will term limit myself to no more than 2 terms.
2. What is your strategy to win?
My strategy to win is to talk to every voter I can and speak in any forum I can speak in. I want to hear from you the voter. I believe that many voters are tired of the corruption and scandal in government, and many voters are tired of career politicians that use the office to stay in perpetual re-election mode while violating the public trust and ethics in government. The Registry of Deeds belongs to you, the homeowner, taxpayer, voter - not to the political class!
3. In your view, what are the key functions of this office?
The most important function of the Registry is its responsibility for recording and maintaining real property records in its district. There are 21 Registries of Deeds, many of which report to the Secretary of State, and others report to county government. According to MGL Part 1, Title VI, Chapter 36, sec 12, "Every deed and other instrument required to be recorded in the registry of deeds shall be recorded in the registry of deeds for the district where the land lies to which such deed or instrument lies .." and according to the same chapter, in Section 12A, "A register of deeds may refuse to accept an instrument for recording if it cannot be properly duplicated or a proper record cannot be made thereof." This sums up the purpose of the Registry of Deeds - to make sure your deed is properly recorded so that you can maintain your rights as a property owner. Your deed is your most valuable asset and it is the responsibility of the Register of Deeds to be guardian of this asset and the public records - this protects you against being unfairly taxed by boards of assessors, and it protects you against others illegal trying to lay claim to your property.
4. What have you done or what would you do to impact the lives of workers - union and non-union?
First and foremost - it is up to each employer or administrator to protect the privacy rights of his or her employees, and to protect their rights against undue political influence. I believe that my opponent violated these rights when he obtained private addresses of employees from the human resource department of the Registry of Deeds office, and added these addresses to his campaign donor list - soliciting his employees for campaign donations. This was deemed a conflict of interest by the State Ethics Commission and I deem it a violation of the public trust and a violation of the rights of employees in one's own department. I therefore will never ask any employee or co-worker in the Registry of Deeds for a campaign donation, or even who they voted for! I believe it is wrong to do this!
Also as a manager of a UPS Store franchise, I believe in building up my fellow co-workers who are an integral part of the functioning of our store, and I will work to build up the employees in the Registry of Deeds! These means supporting their training, creating a work friendly and safe environment, allowing the freedom to share new ideas and approaches, and providing a listening ear for anyone who needs it. I also want to provide educational incentives to continue learning new technologies and standards, and making sure employees have the health care benefits and the salary they need to support their family and remain productive.
Jonathan Ring for Register of Deeds receives Grade of 100% from GOAL
- A Pro 2nd amendment organization seeking to protect our constitutional rights!
Statewide Ballot Questions
There are three important ballot questions on the Tuesday, November 6th Ballot. While everyone has personal views or opinions on these ballot initiatives, and we should support the will of the voter, I have decided to vote NO on all 3 questions. Ballot question 1 will be too expensive for this state and cost the state millions of dollars and cause hospitals to close. Even modest estimates by proponents indicate it will cost the state $40 million. I will vote No on 2 because the proposed constitutional amendment that this group seeks would limit our free speech rights by limiting the ability of nonprofit groups and unions to spend money to promote causes they believe in - these groups that people form are corporations because they are incorporated by people who ban together to promote common ideas. If the Government controls the amount of money they can spend, they will be unable to compete with powerful political parties that will not have the same limits. In addition, only the politically powerful will be allowed to appoint "volunteers" who have influence in the political system to a Commission that is geared to promote a one sided view point.