County Soap Opera Now Goes into a New Season


According to a press release issued last week by the Norfolk County Register of Deeds, William P. O’Donnell, effective July 1, 2022 there will be no more on-site direct report Registry Information Technology staff. This final decision dates back to a 2 to 1 vote not to appoint a Registry CIO to fill the position of a retiring Registry CIO made by Norfolk County Commissioners Peter Collins and Joe Shea nearly nearly a year ago on June 30, 2021. “The vote on June 30, 2021 was a poor decision in a line of questionable decisions made by the Norfolk County Commissioners,” O’Donnell wrote.

After thanking the various attorneys, real estate brokers, assessors, trade organizations and citizens who supported him in his fight with the Commissioners, O’Donnell said he and his staff are ready to “move on” and accept the situation.

But apparently, after a year of fighting bitterly with one of their own, things won’t be quite that simple.

Again, according to O’Donnell, no sooner was the County IT consolidation decision made then the Norfolk County Commissioners served a deposition notice “upon me as Register of Deeds one week later.”

Throughout the dispute, the Commissioners have kept mum, pleading “ongoing litigation.” O’Donnell, for his part, has been just the opposite.

What the results will be is anyone’s guess but it sounds like the “show” will continue...

O’Donnell closed out his press release with a multi-paragraph barrage:

“I certainly have no issues with answering questions at a deposition about actions taken to advocate for homeowners whose legal title to their home are authenticated by the documents recorded at the Registry of Deeds. I would not have been doing my job under the laws of Massachusetts or fulfilling my fiduciary duties to the Registry stakeholders and the public if I did not “fight the fight” to shed light on the decision of Commissioners Collins and Shea especially with hackers, cybersecurity risks and ransomware present in today’s world.

“I can assure the taxpayers of Norfolk County that I will not spend months in legal time as well as legal expenses trying to prevent questions being asked of me as the County Commissioners did for their hired consultant Mark Abrahams who first recommended “IT Consolidation” without speaking to senior Registry staff nor visiting the Norfolk Registry of Deeds. Imagine a paid consultant who was hired by the Norfolk County Commissioners to do a “study” with taxpayers money being protected from answering questions about that “study”. Why would the Norfolk County Commissioners do that? When that consultant Mark Abrahams who was ordered to answer questions then states that there was no cost savings from the County IT consolidation proposal and that the County IT consolidation will not lead to greater efficiency and effectiveness the voters should be asking the County Commissioner up for election this year - Peter Collins – the why all of this.

“The Norfolk Registry of Deeds IT matter is not the only controversy the Norfolk County Commissioners has found themselves in. The Norfolk County Commissioners have been involved in a number of lawsuits and open meetings law violations brought by citizens and those opposed to acres of forest being cut down to put solar panels up on county school grounds. It has been the Registry’s turn in the proverbial Norfolk County Commissioners tumbler. Good government process that is transparent should also be a part of government decisions that have impacts on individuals. Apparently, the Norfolk County Commissioners want to continue their battles and their litigation. In the meantime the Norfolk Registry of Deeds staff will try to do the best it can given the circumstances and poor decisions that have come down on Registry operations and services.”

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