Longtime County Recorder Retiring

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Linda Haught Ortega was rushed into office -- taking over the job barely six weeks after her uncontested primary run in 1992.

The woman who held the office, Mary DePaoli was resigning, so the Gila County Board of Supervisors asked Ortega to step in ahead of schedule -- and right in the middle of the 1992 general election.

Now, Ortega is retiring, effective Feb. 15.

"I'm not riding off into the sunset. My dream and passion is to write the history of the Haught family, so that is what I am going to be doing."

Before jumping into the political arena, Ortega worked in the real estate industry.

There have been plenty of changes in county government over the years.

"It wasn't very automated before. Now we have put images (of maps, etc.) on the Web."

Another big change has been the creation of the satellite recorder's office in Payson in 2004.

Ortega also instituted the first early voting in Payson.

"When I ran that first time, people were standing in line for two hours to vote and it started to rain. It made a big difference."

Both the modernization and the Payson recorder's office were ways to make the work Ortega and her staff did more user-friendly, she said.

Her advice to her successor: "Work hard and keep on top of things."

Ortega said there are always bills going through the legislature that impact the business of the recorder's office, so it is especially important to be familiar with what is happening.

"I'd like to thank all the people who have been so supportive of me and my staff over the years," Ortega said.

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