New Clerk Academy Tallahassee, Florida
Role of the Clerk in the Courts OFFICE TRANSITION Hon. Paula S. O’Neil, Ph.D. Pasco County Clerk & Comptroller
Objectives • Document acknowledgement of change in administration. • Document transfer of custody of court-related items. • Document existence and quantity of tangible personal property. • Document financial condition at start of term of new Clerk.
Specific Objectives • 1. Determine that cash on hand, cash in bank, investments, and financial paper were properly conveyed. • 2. Determine that the predecessor Clerk acknowledged cutoff and transfer of custody for court-related items and other miscellaneous items.
Specific Objectives (cont.) • 3. Determine that tangible personal property and other items in the care or possession related to being an elected official were properly accounted.
Cash on Hand • Identify every point of cash intake. • List and count all undeposited cash and checks on hand including: • Petty cash funds • Change funds • Undeposited collections • Undeposited cash bonds • Retain copies of all cash count sheets.
Cash in Bank • Open new bank accounts and order checks F.S. 219.05(2) • Coordinate bank regarding predecessor Clerk’s statements, stale-dated checks, and interim statement. • Transfer reconciled account balances to the successor by bank transfers or checks drawn on the accounts. F.S. 219.05(3) • It may be possible to transfer the accounts without opening new accounts.
Investments • List all outstanding investments showing: • Description (CD, Treasury Note, etc.) • Maturity • Terms • Custodian • Gain custody of all original documents. • Change endorsements upon maturity.
Financial Paper • Prepare a physical inventory of financial paper: • Checks • Receipt Books • List inclusive document numbers • Forms • Manual Receipts
Physical Inventory • Tangible Personal Property • Evidence • Office Supplies
Computer Access • Verify that computer security access is terminated for the previous Clerk of Circuit Court and any other staff members who no longer need access.
Miscellaneous • Balances of documentary stamp meters and loose stamps. • Budget requisitions. • Credit Cards. • Performance Bonds. • Jury and Witness advances and payrolls paid to date.
Related Items • Pending Surety Bonds • Estreated Surety Bonds Outstanding • Last case numbers filed by case type • Last clerk number in Official Records • Tax Deed Surplus balances • Registry of Court balances
Pasco County’s Audit • Transition Audit Report & Coordination • Pasco County Clerk & Comptroller • Evidence Audit • Hernando County Clerk’s Office • Tangible personal property Audit • Lake County Clerk’s Office • Cash Fund Audit • Pinellas County Clerk’s Office
Evidence • More than 125,000 court cases in 2008 • More than 20,000 cases with evidence • Selection Process • ACL Random Number Sampler • Random samples from • Criminal Cases • Civil Cases
Evidence Sensitive Evidence • Sensitive Items • Dade City Evidence • 178 cases / 278 items • New Port Richey Evidence • 174 cases / 317 items
Evidence Non-Sensitive Evidence • Non-Sensitive Items • Dade City Evidence • 3% of remaining 6,481 cases = 104 cases • New Port Richey Evidence • 1.5% of remaining 14,572 cases = 219 cases
Fixed Assets Fixed Assets • Board of County Commissioners is owner of all fixed assets • 100% fixed asset inventory conducted annually
Fixed Assets Fixed Assets (cont.) • Verified physical existence • 837 items (computers, vehicles, desks, etc.) • Note: • 66 items identified as modular furniture or improvements were not physically verified
Financial Aspects Financial Aspects As of midnight on January 5, 2009: • Performance Bond Total - $ 1,295,646,778.90 • Cash and Investments (Clerk) - $ 16,974,942.13 • Cash and Investments (BCC) - $708,332,492.94 • Tangible Personal Property Book Value - $4,628,124.35 • Trust Account Balances - $4,699,541.69
Financial Aspects Financial Aspects (cont.) As of midnight on January 5, 2009, final numbers were determined for the following: • Purchase Order Numbers • Clerk • BCC • Public Record Numbers • Dade City • New Port Richey • Court Case Numbers by Case Type • Accounts Payable Check Numbers • Payroll Check Numbers
Opportunities for Improvement Opportunities for Improvement • Change Fund Procedure • Fixed Assets Procedure • Evidence Handling Procedure
Conclusion Conclusion of Audit Except as noted in our report: • Controls over custody of court evidence were adequate; • Tangible personal property (fixed assets) was adequately controlled; • Cash investments and financial papers were properly accounted; • Cut-off and transfer of court cases, official records, checks, receipts and other miscellaneous items were effectively handled.
Key Points to Take Away • The Office Transition Audit is critical to you as the new Clerk, regardless of whether or not you worked in the office before your election. • You are being trusted with a lot of responsibility and you need to have confidence in the condition of the Office you are taking.
References • Pasco County. (2009, May 21). Audit of 2009 Clerk of Circuit Court & County Comptroller Transition. Retrieved on November 29, 2012 from http://www.pascoclerk.com/IAreports/FY09/Final-Report-Clerk-Transition-052109.pdf