Hugh Nguyen, Clerk-Recorder
April 4, 2022
Please describe your role with your County:
I am the elected County Clerk-Recorder for the County of Orange, California. I am responsible for maintaining a safe and secure repository for the public records and for providing cost effective and efficient mediums to easily access those records, while safeguarding the confidentiality of personal information for the more than 3.2 million residents in the county. I have served as the County Clerk-Recorder for almost 9 years and have a total of 28 years of experience working for the County of Orange.
Is your glass half-full, or half-empty?
My glass is overflowing with appreciation and gratitude for the things I have been able to accomplish in my life. I was brought to America at the age of seven as a refugee from Vietnam by my grandparents and my aunt who raised me. My journey to America began in 1975 aboard the USS Midway which took me from the Philippines to Guam and then to El Toro Air Base ending up at Camp Pendleton in California. Eventually, I ended up in El Centro and finally in Orange County in 1979. I never imagined as a child that I would be the first Vietnamese American ever elected to the office of County Clerk-Recorder in the nation. I am blessed with a beautiful family, great employees and have the honor of serving the residents of Orange County. Life is great!!
What motivated you to enter public service?
I want to do my best to have the friendliest, most efficient, and accessible Clerk-Recorder’s office in the state. I wake up every day thinking about what our office can do to make every customer’s experience the best they have ever had at a government agency. I want people to not dread going to a government agency. I want them to corelate government services with great customer service. We are here to serve. I strive to offer the best customer service possible.
What’s your proudest professional or personal accomplishment?
I am proud to be living the American Dream. Among many things, I am proud of becoming the first Vietnamese American Clerk-Recorder ever elected in the nation. I am proud to have worked my way from the bottom to the top. In 1993, I started working at the Clerk-Recorder Department. During my first year at the office, I worked in customer service for marriage licensing, fictitious business names, notary registrations, and environmental impact report filings. In 1998, I was promoted to the position of Chief Deputy Recorder in which I served through 2006. From 2006 until my appointment to the position of Clerk-Recorder, I was the Assistant Clerk of the Board expanding my management, budget, HR, and purchasing expertise while gaining valuable experience in dealing with the Board of Supervisors and county operations. I was finally elected Clerk-Recorder in 2014. I am proud of being named one of Orange County’s 100 Most Influential by the Orange County Register in 2015 and again in 2020 for my work to make my department’s services more accessible to working families and for my department’s innovative “Hitched at Honda Center” program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I am also proud of my department for receiving multiple CSAC and NACo Awards in 2021 for the innovations we have ushered in. Personally, I am proud to be a good father to my two children and a good husband to my wife of 32 years. I am also a proud grandfather.
What’s your favorite movie of all time?
My favorite movies are Forest Gump, Gladiator and Grease.