Welcome Clerks December 3, 2012
Historical Role of Florida’s Clerks • Defender of the Public Trust – Provides “checks and balances” that protect the public trust • The Clerk has always been a Constitutional Office • The Clerk’s Evolving Role • Clerks may only perform such duties as provided in the constitution, in statutes, or in rules of court. At present, there are at least 1,000 such designated duties
Constitutional and Statutory Duties and Responsibilities of the Clerk • Article V, § 16 establishes offices of clerks of circuit courts in each county and designates each as the “ex officio clerk of the board of county commissioners, auditor, recorder, and custodian of all county funds.” • Article VIII, § 1(d) provides that the clerk of the circuit court is also the “ex officio clerk of the board of county commissioners, auditor, recorder, and custodian of all county funds.”
Duties as Ex Officio Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners • Keep records and minutes of the Board. (§ 28.12, Fla. Stat; §125.17, Fla. Stat.) • Custodian of the Board seal; authority to affix the seal when proper and necessary. • May provide copies of writings in his or her custody as Clerk of the Board. (§ 125.17, Fla. Stat.) May charge statutory charge for copies. (§ 28.24, Fla. Stat.)
Custodian and Accountant of County Funds • Keeps the Board’s accounts. (§ 28.12, Fla. Stat., § 125.17, Fla. Stat). • Receives and deposits funds of the county. (§ 136.03, Fla. Stat.) • Keeps an accurate and complete set of books. (§ 136.05, Fla. Stat.) • Invests excess county funds. (§ 28.33, Fla. Stat.)
Duties as County Auditor • Expenditures: warrants must be signed by the chair of the Board and attested to by the Clerk with the county seal affixed. (§ 136.06(1), Fla. Stat.) • Personally liable for payment of unauthorized claims, illegal charges, or for an amount in excess of an expenditure allowed by law. (§ 129.09, Fla. Stat.) • Responsibility for Auditing: “Watchdog” of the Board’s expenditures; all accounts subject to inspection and examination by the Clerk. (§ 136.08, Fla. Stat.)
Duties as Recorder • Recorder of all instruments that may be recorded in the county. (§ 28.222, Fla. Stat.) • Kept in one general series of books called the “Official Records.” • Type of instruments that must be recorded are set forth in § 28.222(3), Fla. Stat.
County Budget Officer • Unless the Board designates a different officer, the Clerk is the county budget officer. (§ 120.025, Fla. Stat.) • The duties of the Clerk as the budget officer do not fall within the constitutional responsibilities of the Clerk as auditor and custodian of county funds.
General Judicial Powers and Duties • Ministerial – no judicial authority. • Papers must be kept with utmost care and security and arranged in appropriate files, endorsing upon each the time when filed. (§ 28.13, Fla. Stat.) • Progress docket separate for civil and criminal matters. • May keep minutes of court proceedings but minutes shall not contain orders and judgments. (§ 28.212, Fla. Stat.) • Juror responsibilities pursuant to Ch. 40, Fla. Stat.
Typical Court FunctionsPerformed by the Clerk of Circuit Court • Develops case assignments and court calendars • Enforces failure to appear notices • Provides court case information to judges, attorneys, and other persons involved in cases • Records minutes of court sessions and sessions in judges’ chambers • Collects and stores civil case records and provides to requesting parties • Collects and distributes case related fees and service charges • Balances and accounts for all financial transactions • Provides certified copies of court documents as requested • Answers requests for information about civil case matters • Provides records searches as requested • Collects traffic fines • Disburses fine revenues to appropriate public agencies • Processes driver license suspensions • Maintains records on child support alimony deposits • Collects and distributes child support alimony payments • Processes delinquency judgments
Resources • http://www.flclerks.com (website of the Florida Association of Court Clerks and Comptrollers) Fred Baggett Greenberg Traurig, P.A. 101 East College Avenue Tallahassee, FL 32301 (850) 222-6891 firstname.lastname@example.org