County Recorder John Sciortino, currently the longest-serving elected county official, will not seek re-election to what would be his ninth term.
“It’s time to move on to other things,” Sciortino said.
Meanwhile, his decision has sparked several people – including a local state representative – to seek that job.
“I have decided to run and will make an official announcement in the near future,” said Rep. Mark Brandenburg, R-15th District.
Sciortino’s term is up for election next November, just days before his 64th birthday.
“I didn’t want to retire in the middle of the term.”
If an elected official ever did that, according to Sciortino, the county’s Board of Supervisors would pick a replacement to fill out that term or hold a special election that is costly to taxpayers, he said.
Sciortino, a Republican, has been a member of the county recorder’s office since January 1979 – when Jimmy Carter was president. That’s when he was appointed deputy recorder by Wilma Larson. Sciortino won his first election as county recorder in November 1982.
Pottawattamie County votes re-elected him seven times after that. County Auditor Marilyn Jo Drake is also in her eighth term, but she came in two years after Sciortino. Tom Hanafan, by contrast, didn’t become Council Bluffs mayor until 1988.
As the office’s name implies, Sciortino and his staff record real estate documents and vital statistics such as birth and death certificates and marriage licenses. The office also issues those licenses, along with the licenses for operating snowmobiles, boats and off-road vehicles.
He’s seen many changes over the years, Sciortino said.
“When I first came here there were no computers,” he said. “It was just typewriters, and it wasn’t until July 1, 1989 that we had computerized records.”
Also in the early days of his career, real estate documents were kept on microfilms, which were developed right there in the office.
“Today, it’s all electronic imagining or scanning.”
In retirement, Sciortino and his wife plan to travel, including camping trips.
Besides Brandenburg’s intention, Charley Johnson, the husband of local lawmaker Mary Ann Hanusa, has also announced his candidacy for that position.