MORRIS COUNTY CLERK ANN F. GROSSI BRINGS STRONG MANAGEMENT, AND EXCELLENT LEGAL BACKGROUND TO COUNTY

By Ejvind Boccolini

Ann final    New Morris County Clerk  Ann F. Grossi was surprised when she learned about a job opening for county clerk, but her ability to successfully earn this title was no surprise, due to her great legal and management experience.

     In an interview with the Morristown News recently, Grossi, who is serving a five-year term as clerk until Dec. 31, 1018, said she did not know that previous clerk Joan Bramhall (who served from 1999 to 2013) was going to retire, but instead thought that Bramhall may serve another five years as clerk.
     Grossi previously thought about the possibility of serving as county clerk, but noted that she had plans to run for freeholder again – a job which she enjoyed very much.  But when Bramhall retired, Grossi noted that the opportunity presented itself and came “out of left field.”
      Now, Grossi thanks her helpful and impressive staff for its efficiency, and will continue to offer strong, and excellent public service. Grossi also wants to bring the clerk’s office to a new level of technology and open a satellite office – perhaps in the Rockaway Townsquare Mall.
     Grossi said the clerk’s office is depository for legal documents – deeds, mortgages, trade names, and maps. It also issues passports, county ids, and veteran ids.
     Grossi herself has a strong legal background, having worked as an attorney with a private practice, and was a freeholder for 3 years in Morris County, on council in Parsippany, and served as council vice president.
     Grossi also worked for the state as Chief of Enforcement of the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, overseeing 5 offices and also 3 satellite offices.
     As an attorney, she is very well-versed in civil service, and union contracts negotiation and arbitration. She also served as counsel for several libraries in Morris County.
     As a freeholder in Morris County, she said the position “gave me a full background” for what the county does.
     Now, she has 34 individuals on staff not including the deputy.
     Grossi notes that the county performs a myriad of functions for its residents, some of which may be unknown to its community members. The many departments operate in a most effective way, working to keep matters in balance at all times.
     “Things get done because the county gets them done,” said Grossi, adding that sometimes not everyone knows that tasks are being successfully completed – and that it is the county officials and employees that achieve this for its residents.
     “I have a great staff here,” Grossi said, thanking her officials and employees.
     Grossi noted that she wants to enhance and automate, within reason, more facets of the county.
     She also wants the community to know they are “open for business.” The hours are 8 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday, with Registry recording offered until 4 pm. There are hours on Wednesday until 7 pm for passports only, and the location of the County Clerk’s office is the first floor of the Administration and Record’s Building on Court Street in Morristown. Residents of any New Jersey county can use the passport service.
    Grossi said there are many ancient documents on file in the clerk’s office, and gave an example by showing the 1906 Morris County Manual. It lists towns, legislative districts, county offices, commissions, and newspapers.
     “I think a lot of people call us about passports,” she said, adding that the office collects recording and filing fees. She said, through our fees the state gets the lion’s share, and added that the clerk’s office receives a fee for every document they file.
    In 2012, the clerk’s office generated $36 million, and in 2013, $50 million. The county received about 7 or 8 million dollars in 2012, for example, and that is one tax point.
    The clerk’s office also has an online document research facility, in which community members can perform an official records public search, and Grossi said the clerk’s office is launching  facebook page.
     Grossi said she wants to move the clerk’s office into a new level of technology, and this will include electronic transmissions with respect to additional services that the clerk’s office offers.

The clerk’s office is not yet ready to do deeds with e-filing, but otherwise the clerk’s office is operational with respect to e-filing.

     “We’re looking forward to getting that done,” Grossi said, referring to the e-filing of deeds.
     Grossi also wants to have a satellite office in, perhaps the Rockaway Townsquare Mall, and wants to implement outreach passport services. They will look to have a “caravan schedule” advertised, in which there will be a mobile unit out in the field where people can take advantage of the services.
     Grossi said the clerk’s office was established in 1739, and is one of three constitutional offices (county, sheriff and surrogate). It is established by statute, meaning that it is in the N.J. Constitution. As clerk, Grossi also performs weddings, and the clerk’s office tabulates the results of the election process.
     This is tradition, as is the way they decide what order the names of candidates within a given contest will appear on a ballot. They have a “hat box” in which they put the name of each candidate (written on a piece of paper) inside its own tiny glass container. Containers are handpicked, randomly, and the first one handpicked gets on the ballot first, and so on.
     Visit website www.morriscountyclerk.org/ and residents will notice that the top paragraph of the page conveniently lists some important services that are offered. There are “clickable” links in blue type to direct community members to the proper destination to get all the information they need.
     The paragraph reads: “Visit our office to get a passport, record and file land transactions, apply to become a Notary Public, get a County ID Card, or during election time, vote in person. Our goal is to continue the excellent public service you’ve come to expect from the Morris County Clerk’s Office.”
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