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Clerk Budgets, Audits and Performance Measures



The budget, audit and performance reports on this page are in a *.PDF format which requires Adobe Acrobat Reader to read them. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat and would like to download it, use this link: Get Acrobat Reader

As your Chief Financial Officer for the County, it is important for us to demonstrate our commitment to accountability and transparency. You, the citizens of Pinellas County expect accountability in your public officials. I realize that the dollars we spend are your dollars, and we need to be ever diligent to make sure that every dollar we spend is necessary and efficiently used.

I’ve worked to live up to the standards I set for our office. In the time I have been in office, we have significantly increased services we deliver and dealt with a heavier work load both in our courts and accounting offices. Today, despite decreases in personnel we have continued to provide excellent customer service. We have done that through process improvements, better use of technology and better trained personnel.

This past Legislative session, Clerks’ budgets across the state were cut on average 18%. Since 90% of our budget is for personnel expenses, this cut has forced us to make more dramatic reductions in personnel than we had planned. The current financial environment will test and strain our ability to continue to deliver quality and timely services. I can assure you that our personnel are committed to delivering you the highest level of customer service and we are up to the challenge before us.

I am proud of our performance. I am very fortunate to have a great team of employees behind me who make me look good. We believe the more you know about us, the more you appreciate the value you get in our office. We have attached information that will assist you to make an evaluation of our performance. We encourage your review and inspection of our records. Please call if you have any questions or would like additional information.

Budgets

Budget Process

The Florida Constitution charges the Clerk of Courts with multiple responsibilities. These responsibilities include being the Clerk to the Circuit and County Courts, Clerk to the Board of County Commissioners, County Auditor, Recorder of Official Records, and County Finance Officer. Over time, the funding sources and budgetary approval process for these different responsibilities have evolved and in many cases become specific to the functional responsibility. Therefore, portions of the Clerk’s budget have different revenue sources, different expenditure rules and different approval authorities.

Funding the Office of Clerk of Courts

PINELLAS COUNTY CLERK OF THE CIRCUIT COURT
BUDGET PROCESS
FY 2008-2009

Budget Adoption: The Clerk of the Circuit Court adopts an annual budget for all funds within the Clerk’s Office. The budget is prepared on a basis consistent with generally accepted accounting principles. The annual budget serves as the legal authorization of expenditures. The budget must be balanced, which means that budgeted expenditures and reserves of each fund (appropriations) will equal the sum of estimated fund balance at the beginning of the fiscal year and revenues expected to be received during the fiscal year (estimated revenues). A line item budget is adopted for revenues and expenditures.

Budgetary Control:
Expenditures may not exceed appropriations at the major object code level within the cost center of the fund. Subsequent amendments increasing the overall total budget approved by the Board of County Commissioners (Board) for the Board fund must be approved by the Board. Subsequent amendments increasing the overall total budget approved by the Clerk of the Court Corporation (CCOC) for the Court fund must be approved by the CCOC. The Clerk may approve budgetary changes within the respective funds. The Chief Deputy Directors of the affected Divisions may approve amendments that do not increase the overall budgets of the respective funds or allocate funds from reserve for contingency.

Fund Names and Descriptions
Number Name Source Excess Fee Distribution
1501 Court Clerk’s Court related fees, fines and forfeitures Remitted to State
1502 Board Transfers from Board Remitted to Board
1503 Recording Recording fees, marriage licenses and passports, etc. Remitted to Board
1505 Public Records Modernization Trust Additional $1 service charge on the lst page and $.50 on each additional page of most recorded instruments Retained by the Clerk
1506 Court Public Records Modernization Trust Additional $1.90 per page service charge on most recorded instruments Retained by the Clerk
1506 10% Fine/Public Records Modernization Trust 10% of fines Retained by the Clerk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fund 1501 – Court: The Court fund is used to account for court related filing fees, service charges, fines and forfeitures and court costs as established by statute. Only those functions on the standard list developed pursuant to s. 28.35(4)(a) may be funded from fees, service charges, court costs, and fines retained by the Clerk. The Court budget is submitted to the Clerks of Court Operations Corporation (CCOC) annually on or before August 15 of each fiscal year. The proposed budget must provide detailed information on the anticipated revenues available and expenditures necessary for the performance of the standard list of court-related functions of the Clerk developed pursuant to s. 28.35(4)(a) for the county fiscal year beginning the following October 1. By January 1 of each year the Clerk must remit to the Department of Revenue for deposit in the General Revenue Fund the cumulative excess of all fees, service charges, court costs, and fines plus any funds received from the Department of Revenue Clerk of the Court Trust Fund under s. 28.36(4)(a), over the amount needed to meet the approved budget amounts established under s. 28.36.

Fund 1502 – Board: The Board fund is used to account for the functions that support the Board of County Commissioners (Board), such as Clerk and Accountant to the Board, County Auditor and Printing and Mail services. The Board fund is funded solely by transfers from the Board. The budget is submitted to the Board for approval in May of each year in accordance with s.129.03. The excess of transfers over expenditures for the fiscal year are returned to the Board on or before October 31 of the following fiscal year.

Fund 1503 – Recording: The Recording fund is used to account for the functions of the County Recorder, such as recording legal instruments, maintaining official records, issuing marriage licenses, performing marriage ceremonies, processing passport applications, etc. The Recording fund is funded from recording fees, marriage license application and ceremony fees, passport applications fees, documentary stamp commissions, etc. The excess of such fees over expenditures for the fiscal year are returned to the Board on or before October 31 of the following fiscal year.

Fund 1505 – Public Records Modernization Trust: The Public Records Modernization Trust fund is used to account revenues generated from the additional $1 service charge on the 1st page and $.50 of each additional page of most recorded instruments with the exception of judgments received from the courts and notices of lis pendens, recorded in the official records. The revenue is to be used exclusively for equipment and maintenance of equipment, personnel training, and technical assistance in modernizing the public records system of the office. The fund may not be used for the payment of travel expenses, membership dues, bank charges, staff-recruitment costs, salaries or benefits of employees, construction costs, general operating expenses, or other costs not directly related to obtaining and maintaining equipment for public records systems or for the purchase of furniture or office supplies and equipment not related to the storage of records. The excess of such revenues over expenditures for the fiscal year are retained by the Clerk in the fund.

Fund 1506 – Court Public Records Modernization Trust: The Court Public Records Modernization Trust fund is used to account revenues generated from the additional $1.90 service charge per page of most instruments with the exception of judgments received from the courts and notices of lis pendens, recorded in the official records. The revenue is to be used exclusively for funding court-related technology needs of the Clerk as defined in s. 29.008(1)(f)2. and (h). The fund may be used for the payment of travel expenses, membership dues, bank charges, staff-recruitment costs, salaries or benefits of employees, general operating expenses, or other costs directly related to court technology for the Clerk’s Office. The excess of such revenues over expenditures for the fiscal year are retained by the Clerk in the fund.

Fund 1506 – 10% Fine/Public Records Modernization Trust: The 10% Fine/Public Records Modernization Trust fund is used to fund programs for the court. The excess of such revenues over expenditures for the fiscal year are retained by the Clerk in the fund.


Funding the Office of Clerk of Courts - Statewide

Financial Services: The Clerk has responsibility for the financial operations both for the county government and the court activities. For county government, this responsibility includes the Board of County Commissioners (BCC or County), Clerk, Supervisor of Elections, Tax Collector, Property Appraiser, Human Resources, and the Sheriff In order to maximize overall efficiency, the Clerk uses the same employees to provide services for the BCC and the Clerk’s Office. Many Pinellas County agencies share a Unified Personnel System (UPS). The UPS provides the agencies with job classifications, personnel rules, uniform disciplinary guidelines, and pay scales. The Human Resources Department sets the pay ranges in accordance with studies of like employers, both public and private, that perform similar work. The member agencies of the UPS are bound to follow the procedures as established by them. Those costs for financial operations not paid by the County are allocated to other budget areas, including Official Records and the court functions. The Clerk has approval authority for these budgets.

Official Records and Administration: The Clerk collects recording fees that fund this operation. n addition to the recording of official records, centralized administrative functions including human resources, purchasing, mail and general management are provided by Administration. In addition, specialized services such as archives and central filing are housed in Administration. Unspent recording revenues are returned to the County. The Clerk has approval authority for this budget.

Court Services: Following a 2004 Constitutional Amendment approved by Florida voters, the Florida Legislature assumed responsibility for funding the budget for the clerk’s court-related services. This funding was accomplished completely through fees and service charges for court users. Prior to this time, court services provided by the clerk were a county-funded responsibility and were only partially funded by fees and service charges. After 2004 the County retained the responsibility for funding some court-related costs including facilities, communications, and shared technology. The Legislature also created the Clerks of Court Operations Corporation (CCOC) to assist clerks in the development of their budget and to approve those budgets within statutory guidelines (Visit the CCOC website at www.flccoc.org). Court related services are funded from a portion of the court fines and fees the clerk collects with the remainder of the monies collected by clerk going primarily to fund judicial operations throughout the state During the 2009 Legislative session, the clerk’s budgets were capped statewide and, beginning in 2010, clerk court-related budgets will be part of the state appropriation process.

Child Support: Clerks are responsible for assisting in collecting court-ordered child support payments. The Clerk has entered into a contract whereby the Federal government reimburses the Clerk for the cost incurred in providing this service. These services are provided by employees in the Courts Department and their time is captured and not included in our court related budget.

Technology: The Clerk is responsible for his own technology, except for shared systems funded by the County per Florida Statutes. Florida law provides a fee per page for documents recorded in Official Records to fund both software and hardware technology costs, which is placed in a trust fund. The Clerk has approval authority for this budget subject to the available dollars in the trust fund.

Please select one of the following to view.

  • Annual Budget Fiscal Year 2011-2012
  • Annual Budget Fiscal Year 2010-2011
  • Annual Budget Fiscal Year 2009-2010
  • Annual Budget Fiscal Year 2008-2009
  • Annual Budget Fiscal Year 2007-2008
  • Annual Budget Fiscal Year 2006-2007
  •          Audits

    Audit & Financial Reports

    The Clerk is a separate Constitutional Office and as is required to have expenditures, revenues and operations audited. The Clerk is subject to multiple audits and those are listed and discussed below:

    Annual Audit: The County Commission contracts with an independent accounting firm to perform an audit of the functions and financial activities of the Board and each of the five Constitutional Offices. Each of these entities is independently audited and subject to materiality based upon their own expenditure levels. The audits of the five Constitutional Officers along with the Board are then combined into a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). This is submitted to the Board and widely distributed to provide citizens, investors and other interested parties an overview of the financial health and fiscal activities of the entire county government. Copies can be viewed in our office or online.

    Department of Financial Services: Beginning in 2004, the Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS) was charged by statue with the responsibility for auditing each Clerk’s court-related expenditures to insure that the budgets are in compliance with state statutes and used solely for court-related activities. DFS periodically audits every Clerk and provides written reports.

    Internal Audits: The Clerk has a Division of Inspector General whose scope of work includes two general areas; Audit Services staff audits Clerk and Board operations. Internal audits are provided to management for corrective action as needed and are followed up by the Audit Services staff. The Public Integrity Investigations Unit has the primary responsibility for investigation of all suspected inappropriate activity as defined in the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s Fraud, Waste and Abuse Policy and Procedures. If the investigation substantiates that a fraudulent act has occurred, the Division of Inspector General will notify the Clerk of the Circuit Court, or County Administrator, as applicable, and such other County officials as appropriate. The Clerk appoints the Director of the Division of Inspector General with the background and experience in auditing. His role is to establish an annual audit program and review the scope and quality of work performed by the Audit Services staff.
    The Reports from the Internal Audits conducted by the Division of Inspector General staff can be found online here.

    Auditor General: In Florida, the Auditor General (AG) is a constitutional officer appointed by the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee. His appointment is confirmed by both houses of the Legislature. The AG conducts financial audits of the accounts and records of State agencies; and, as directed by the Legislative Auditing Committee, of local governments including Clerks of Court and the Clerk of Court Operations Corporation (CCOC). The AG adopts rules for financial audits performed by independent certified public accountants of local governmental entities, including Clerks, and reviews all audit reports of local governmental entities, pursuant to Section 218.39, Florida Statutes. All AG audits can be seen on their website at www.myflorida.com/audgen/.

    Child Support Audits: Child support services in Florida and other states are provided through Federal grants and controlled by the provisions of OMB Circular A-87. The Florida Department of Revenue (www.myflorida.com/dor/childsupport/) administers the grant program, and contracts with independent certified public accountants to provide an annual audit of the expenditure of grant funds and the operations of the Clerks in regard to child support enforcement. In addition, periodic inspection and oversight is provided by the Office of Child Support Enforcement of the US Department of Health and Human Services (www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse/).

    Please select one of the following for more information.

    External Financial Reports: State         Internal Financial        

    Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports


    Popular Annual Financial Reports


    Annual Financial Reports

    The Annual Financial Report (AFR) provides financial information for the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) and County Constitutional Officers. This report includes in one document the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) which presents the audited annual financial statements of the BCC and each of the County’s five Constitutional Officers combined in the front, with the separately audited financial statements of,each Constitutional Officers following. This report is required to be filed with the State of Florida Auditor General’s Office annually in accordance with Section 218.39, Florida Statutes, and is also available on the Auditor General’s Web site.


    Pinellas County Investment Policy & Ordinance:

  • Policy
  • Ordinance


    Investment Reports


    Bonded Debt Reports


             Performance Measures

     
    The Clerk of Court Operations Corporation (CCOC) was created in 2004 by the Florida Legislature. Included in the bill creating the CCOC was a requirement to create and monitor performance measures. Over the five years since the creation of the CCOC a number of performance measures have been implemented to measure those court related activities for which Clerks are responsible. For each of these measures a standard was established. Clerks are required to both self report and, to the extent that performance falls below the standard set by the CCOC, the Clerk must provide the actions that will be taken to bring the performance to or above standards.

    Timeliness of Case Creation: The percentage of cases created within X business days from the time the case was clocked in.

    Timeliness of Docket Entry: The percentage of docket entries created within X business days from the time clocked in/action taken date.

    Collection Rate of Fines, Fees and Costs: Actual percentage of Fines, Fess, and Costs collected during 5 busniess quarters from the time assessed.

    Performance measures for non court-related functions have not been established. While not required by law, Clerks statewide have discussed developing performance measures for their non court-related functions. As those performance measures are developed and standards established, we will be reporting on them as well.

    Please select one of the following to view.

  • FY11-12 Performance Measures
  • FY10-11 Performance Measures
  • FY09-10 Performance Measures
  • FY08-09 Performance Measures
  • FY07-08 Performance Measures


     

  • Contact Information Ken Burke, Clerk of the Circuit Court
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