San Luis Obispo County’s clerk-recorder for almost two decades announced Tuesday that she plans to retire at the end of her term in January 2015.
Julie Rodewald said it has been “a profound honor” to serve the county for 33 years, including almost 20 years as clerk-recorder.
Rodewald was elected in 1994 among a field of eight candidates to her first four-year term, and has run unopposed the past four elections.
She previously worked as the county’s chief deputy clerk-recorder and supervised the court section of the clerk’s office.
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During her tenure, Rodewald, 59, oversaw the transition from punch ballots in the 1990s to fill-in-the bubble voting cards now used in county elections.
Prior to the election in 2000, the county spent $587,000 to purchase the Accu-Vote optical scanner system to read the fill-in the bubble ballots.
Rodewald considered the Accu-Vote system less prone to error than punch-card ballot systems that led to the hanging chad debacle in the Bush-Gore election of 2000.
She said an electronic voting system could be implemented by the next clerk-recorder.
But her preference for the fill-in-the-bubble system starting in 2000 was that it provided a paper trail of votes in case of a recount, also noting that voting technology then didn’t function as well as it does now.
She said Tuesday her proudest accomplishment is working together with her staff to provide quality customer service for the public in a variety of capacities, including issuing marriage licenses, recording deeds and coordinating elections.
“We embraced the vision that we worked every day to make things as easy as possible,” Rodewald said.
Still, the toll of making sure an election runs properly is demanding, Rodewald said.
“I’m looking forward to having time to do things outside of the job,” Rodewald said. “It can be all-consuming, particularly when it comes to elections.”
The primary election will take place in June, and Rodewald’s term ends Jan. 5, 2015.
The period to file for official candidacy for the position runs from Feb. 10 to March 12, although candidates now can file a notice of intent to run so they can begin to raise campaign money. The position carries a $135,657 annual salary.
Thus far, the county’s assistant clerk-recorder Tommy Gong has filed his intention to run.
Rodewald said she won't be endorsing a candidate in keeping with the apolitical nature of her work.
Rodewald said that her job has enabled her to get to know people from throughout the county whom she otherwise wouldn’t have met and that she has enjoyed her work.
“I have been fortunate, and I love what I do,” Rodewald said.