110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
By Pat Andrews
posted Jul 20, 2012 - 7:00:48am
Incumbent Volusia County Clerk of Court Diane Matousek, a Republican, will face challenger Steven DeLaroche, another Republican, in the Tuesday, Aug. 14, party primary.
The winner will then face Christine Sanders, who has no party affiliation, in the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
So what does the Clerk of Court do, anyway?
The Florida Association of Court Clerks and Comptrollers says the clerk is the public trustee for the county. The clerk provides checks and balances in county government as clerk to the court, keeper of public records, and comptroller and internal auditor of county funds.
“Public records” is a key term. The clerk and the 298 employees of the Volusia County Clerk of the Court’s Office are responsible for every court record.
The Clerk of Court coordinates jury selection, safeguards evidence, and ensures detailed recording of court proceedings, working with law enforcement, judges and attorneys.
A new case-management system is slated to go online the first of next year. It’s expected to save duplication of data entry in criminal cases.
An e-file system for civil cases began July 1, allowing attorneys to file suits and documents online instead of bringing files to the Clerk of Court.
The office handles every judicial sale, such as houses auctioned in foreclosure cases. Clerks sell tax deeds on properties for which taxes are delinquent.
The Clerk of Court assists petitioners and victims of domestic violence with forms and procedures. In small-claims court, the staff assists people with evictions.
The Clerk of Court’s Office helps people who want to see public records, and office staff can print documents for them, free of charge.
Clerks enter information from all traffic tickets into the computer system, and they track and collect fines. This is one of the busiest areas of the Clerk of Court’s Office.
The Florida Highway Patrol is now testing e-tickets, with the hope of saving time.
The Clerk of the Court processes and records marriage licenses, and records divorces.
In Volusia County, the Clerk of the Court’s Office serves as a passport office, as a public service.
The office is also a child-support depository, taking payments from private parties. This can make paying and receiving payments easier for parents who are unhappy with each other. When a judge orders payments taken, those payments go into a different statewide system.
The Clerk of Court’s Office, like most public agencies, faces a budget cut. The office will see its funding going from $11.3 million in 2011-12 to $10.4 million in 2012-13. Forty-four positions stand empty, so the Volusia County Clerk of Court’s Office is not planning to reduce the hours it is open, as some offices have done.
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