Clerk and Recorder candidate: Rina Fontana Moore
Name: Rina Fontana Moore
Occupation: Cascade County Clerk and Recorder/Auditor/Surveyor
Party affiliation: Democrat
Experience relevant to position sought: I have been in this position for 16 years.
Prior to running for office, my dad and I ran Fontana and Moore Engineering and Land Surveying. In this business, you have to look at all the land information that is of record within the Clerk and Recorders’ Office. Once you have found the land information and performed the survey, you return to the Clerk and Recorders Office to record you survey or plat. I was also a personal property auditor with the Department of Revenue when elected, which set me up for the auditing portion of this position. We look at every penny that is spent within Cascade County and investigate if needed.
Campaign website/social media accounts, if applicable: Facebook
Q: Why are you running for clerk and recorder/elections official?
A: I was originally elected in 2006 and took office in January of 2007. I am running again as I believe the person elected to this position must be qualified. I am a professional land surveyor which benefits the folks in Cascade County. Because of my professional license, we are able to review surveys and subdivisions. Without my license, a reviewing surveyor would have to be hired to meet the statutory requirements.
As auditor, I have two fantastic auditors that fulfil that portion of the position, however, when they discover issues, I am not afraid to pursue them.
Elections has become a monster of a position. The laws are constantly changing and must be implemented. Elections runs under Titles 5, 7, 13, 30, 50 and 70. This isn’t a position that someone can just jump into and learn. This takes years of experience. I am also on the implementation team for the new voter registration database and a member of the EAS at the federal level.
Q: What do you believe is the role of the county clerk and recorder/elections official?
A: The role of the Clerk and Recorder is to make sure that all deeds, surveys and subdivisions are filed correctly. t is also to keep a historical record of all the issues going on with the commission. The position also oversees all of the accounting for the county and is responsible for the annual financial report and the CAFR. The position overseas the vital statistics department and auditing every penny that is spent within the county. The position oversees the county print shop, the burn permit process and manages the solid waste department along with running elections.
Q: What do you believe are the top three challenges facing Cascade County?
A: Because the position of Clerk and Recorder is not a policy making position, we may see challenges in a different way.
- Educating every voter.
- Assuring that all property has been recorded properly to assure that a person’s most expensive assets are recorded correctly.
- Finding a way to be fiscally conservative in these challenging times.
Q: If elected, what would be your initial priorities and how would you accomplish those goals?
A: We have set $250,000 aside to digitize all of the documents within the Clerk and Recorder’s Office and Elections. We already have documents digitized from 2001 forward, but need to make the rest available. We have struggled with this issue as we have the funds to do this project, but need to make sure that all of our contracts are in place to actually get this process started.
Q: If elected, what do you believe you bring to the role of clerk and recorder/elections official?
A: Dedication. I have been at this for 16 years and there are very few weeks that I do not spend at least 50 hours on the job. My personal cell number has been published and I will answer the phone at all hours of the day. I truly believe that I was elected to serve the folks that reside in Cascade County.
Q: How would you conduct public outreach on controversial matters before the county, or to promote a general understanding of the county’s public process related to the clerk and recorder/elections office?
A: Any public meeting must be noticed at least 48 hours in advance. There are many statutes that guide the promotion of public information. I am well aware of the statutes and we always have our public information available in the newspaper and our website.
Q: How would you manage the many tasks of the clerk and recorder’s office as well as oversee the elections office to ensure smooth and secure elections?
A: I have a fantastic staff and could not perform the requirements of this position without them. I am involved with all facets of my department but give about 50 percent of my time to the elections department.
I have always been held accountable in every area of my department and feel it is necessary to devote time to every one of them.
Q: How would you work with the public, officials and data to determine fact from fiction in related to elections security?
A: I am a member of the Elections Assistance Commission at the federal level. We have worked both locally and across state lines to educate our elections administrators and the public about the elections process. Our association worked with law makers and the Montana Association of Counties to address the issues of fact versus fiction. The working group came up with a fantastic outline of the elections process and I believe that it is my position to make sure that this information is made public.
Q: How would you approach the budget process within your office to ensure the county is making the best use of taxpayer dollars?
A: I have always considered myself a fiscal conservative and held a flat budget for many years.
Q: What do you envision your working relationship with county staff would look like?
A: As Clerk and Recorder, we normally work with all other departments. We (I) enjoy the interaction with all departments of the county and will go out of my way to assist any of them.
Q: Any additional comments on your plans if elected (but please be concise)?
A: If elected, I will continue to bring the same energy to the position that I have for the last 16 years. I love working with the public and would say that I am the only elected official that will greet you at the counter every day. I love this position and believe that my job experiences prior to election and the experiences that I have been able to gather since my first election have made me the person that I am today.
I like to deal with the public in a friendly, but calm and measured way.