Mary Kozak, Recorder of Deeds for Berks County, has announced she is seeking re- election. Kozak, who is in her first term, believes her work is unfinished, and she hopes the voters of Berks County agree.
Kozak, when asked about her first term, stated, “Despite significant obstacles including a worldwide pandemic, budget shortfalls resulting from policies instituted by my predecessor, and staffing deficiencies related to county budget constraints, I believe we, my team and I, are meeting the needs of Berks Countians. I humbly ask for the voters’ support to continue our work. Building on the foundation we have laid, I plan to continue implementing additional cost-saving policies and services in the future for the residents of the county.”
Kozak learned the value of hard work and frugality from her parents, and she needed those skills to address budget shortfalls on day one. Repurposing furniture replaced in other offices instead of charging the county for new furniture is one example. “Why replace functioning furniture just because you can? We, as public servants, need to be mindful of how we spend taxpayers’ money.”
Staffing deficiencies required quick-thinking reassignment of tasks and prompted a much-desired upgrade to the office’s website: online access to weekly reports of real estate transactions. “The previous process listed the transactions in local print resources. Online posting on the Recorder of Deeds webpage provides easier information acquisition for realtors, bankers, investors, and constituents. The technology to provide this service was readily available but unused. We were proud to make it happen,” stated Kozak.
The COVID pandemic required even more quick thinking and management. Transitioning her staff to a hybrid work schedule was a significant hurdle. But Kozak and her team managed to keep the office running, particularly by creating a method to ensure notaries could renew their certification before their term expired.
The process also allowed new notaries to receive credentials, providing essential businesses could continue operating. In addition, her method helped other Recorders’ of Deeds across the Commonwealth swear in their notaries.
Another unexpected challenge during the pandemic thrust Kozak into an unlikely role: making sure flags flew over the graves of Berks County’s war heroes on Memorial Day, 2020.
Under the lockdowns instituted by Governor Tom Wolf, Kozak realized the flags ordered could not be delivered. Using her network of contacts, she obtained the needed flags, worked with local organizations and community members, and ensured the flags made it to the county’s more than two hundred cemeteries.
“As the daughter of a Pearl Harbor survivor and veteran,” Kozak stated, “it is my privilege and honor to daily serve those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for us. I was humbled to play a role in making sure our veterans were honored on Memorial Day in 2020.”