Editorial: Forde for Suffolk deeds – Boston Herald – August 30, 2016

“Let’s begin by pointing out the utter absurdity that register of deeds is still an elected position in Massachusetts, given the strictly administrative nature of the job. But as long as it is — and as long as there is healthy interest among candidates, as there is for the vacant Suffolk register of deeds position — it’s worth evaluating the best candidate for the job.

Among the seven candidates in the Sept. 8 Democratic primary (there is no Republican running) we can eliminate those who are running because — well, because running for available offices is simply what they do. And this post happens to come with a hefty salary (the previous registrar earned a $119,250 salary last year); job security (the term is six years); and a reasonably light workload.

But there are some who actually have relevant qualifications, and who bring energy and new ideas to the campaign. High on that list is Katherine V. “Katie” Forde of Roslindale, and the Herald is pleased to endorse her candidacy.

The register of deeds, which is responsible mostly for recording real estate transactions and is supervised by the secretary of state, is on the merits a reasonably powerless position; its appeal was always in its opportunities for patronage. But Forde, a paralegal, at least has some ideas for making the office more user-friendly. Among them are plans to promote web filing of documents and to extend Registry hours; to give visitors to the website information about plans for larger developments; to launch a notification program so that consumers and business owners are notified of any fraudulent activity conducted in their name; and to offer homebuying programs.

Mostly we appreciate that Forde has been unafraid to take on the establishment in a city that doesn’t always reward upstarts. She notes that the position is often referred to as a “velvet coffin” — where career pols can lie in repose until it’s time to retire (and even well past that time).

As long as this decision is going to be left to the voters, they’d be well served by electing Katie Forde.

Editorial Staff, Boston Herald – August 30, 2016