The Florida Constitution, which has governed Florida citizens for more than 180 years, established the Clerk & Comptroller as an elected public trustee in 1838 and established at the county level a system of checks and balances that has served the public well. The functions and duties of Clerk & Comptroller vary from state to state. In most jurisdictions, the Clerk & Comptroller is vested with a large number of administrative duties. The Florida Clerk is not only Clerk of the Circuit Court, but also serves as the County:
- Ex-officio Clerk of the County Commission
Statute Requirements & Accountability
The Office of the Clerk & Comptroller performs a wide range of record keeping, information, and financial services for the judicial system and county government. Because the Clerk & Comptroller's duties affect the rights and property of county citizens, it is essential the Clerk & Comptroller remain accountable for his or her actions. For this reason, the Florida Constitution and certain statutes require the Clerk:
- Is governed by statutory authority in carrying out the duties and functions of the Office.
- Is subject to state Auditor General rules and regulations as auditor and custodian of county funds.
- Is subject to annual audits by independent firms.
Public evaluation and scrutiny in the election process every four years also ensures accountability of your locally elected Clerk & Comptroller.
Functions & Duties
The Joint Select Committee on Judicial Personnel of the Florida Legislature calculated the Clerk & Comptroller's Office performs 926 separate constitutional and statutory functions and duties (this number does not include responsibilities required by court rule and administrative order). The number of tasks grows continually with changes in legislation, regulations, and reporting requirements.
"A public officer is a public trust. The people shall have the right to secure and sustain that trust."
-- Article II, Section 8, Florida Constitution
"There shall be in each county a Clerk of the Circuit Court who shall be selected pursuant to the provisions of Article VIII, Section 1."
-- Article V, Section 16, Florida Constitution
"The Clerk of the Circuit Court shall be Ex-officio Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners, Auditor, Recorder, and Custodian of all county funds."
-- Article VIII, Section 1(d), Florida Constitution
A sampling of duties separated by the constitutional or statutory function is listed below:
- As Clerk of Circuit & County Court
- As County Recorder
- As Clerk to the Board of County Commissioners
- As Custodian of County Funds
- As County Auditor
- Other Duties of the Clerk
- Prepare for and attend court hearings and trials.
- Create and maintain court case records and process all civil and criminal cases.
- Determine indigent status.
- Prepare appellate records.
- Compile and submit and local reports.
- Establish and manage jury.
- Assess, collect, and disburse fines, court costs, forfeitures, and service charges.
- Establish and maintain assessment, collection, and distribution schedules and escrow accounts.
- Process and manage cash and security bonds.
- Pursue collections of court-ordered financial obligations.
- Manage court registry.
- Process abandoned and unclaimed property.
- Conduct mortgage foreclosure sales.
- Perform evidence and records management and retention.
- Assist self-represented (pro se) litigants with fillings, including small claims actions.
- Petitions for protective injunctions (domestic, repeat, sexual, and dating violence).
- Issue service documents.
- Audit guardianship reports.
- Create and maintain child support/alimony depository records and audit child support payments.
- Record and index land records submitted for recording in the Office Records of Pasco County, which includes public defender liens, judgments entered by the court, mortgages, deeds, tax liens and claims against an estate, agreements, contracts, maps and plats of subdivisions, and surveys.
- Process tax-deed applications and conduct sales.
- Collect and disburse intangible taxes.
- Collect and disburse documentary stamp monies.
- Attend meetings of the Board of County Commissioners and committees of the Board.
- Produce, record, index, and distribute official minutes of these meetings.
- Maintain legal custody of Official County Seal.
- Maintain custody of all County resolutions, ordinances, and contracts.
- Process appeals for Value Adjustment Board.
- Attest official actions of the Board of County Commissioners.
- Provide accounting services to all departments under the Board of Commissioners.
- Provide an accounting system for all fiscal changes implemented by the Board.
- Manage investments of County funds.
- Provide financial reporting to the Board and federal state agencies.
- Process accounts payable and County payroll.
- Preaudit all County expenditures before payment.
- Review proposed contracts before adoption.
- Conduct internal audits of the Board and Clerk's Offices to determine sufficiency of internal controls and issue audit reports.
- Manage fraud, waste, and abuse hotline.
- Issue and record marriage licenses.
- Manage clerk, county, and court records storage.
- Process passport applications.
- Issue home-solicitation permits.