The Florida Constitution, which has governed Florida citizens for more than 175 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
- Finance Officer
Statute Requirements & Accountability
The Office of the Clerk & Comptroller performs a wide range of record keeping, information management, and financial management 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 County Auditor
- Other Duties of the Clerk
- Attend Court hearings and trials
- File indictments, information, and verdicts
- Process civil and criminal cases
- Prepare appellate records
- Jury management
- Collect and disburse fines, court costs, forfeitures, fees, and service charges
- Conduct mortgage-foreclosure sales
- Maintain custody of all evidence and exhibits entered by the Court
- Assist in completing paperwork required to file a small-claims action
- Assist in completing paperwork required to file petitions for protective injunctions (domestic, repeat, sexual, and dating violence)
- Issue process-service documents
- Maintain Court registry
- Audit guardianship reports
- Audit child-support payments
- Record and index deeds, mortgages, and descriptions of all County property
- Process tax-deed applications and conduct sales
- Record public defender liens and judgments entered by the Court; record tax liens and claims against an estate; instruments of conveyance; agreements, contracts, maps, and plats of subdivisions and surveys
- Maintain a public-records library
- 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
- Preaudit all County expenditures before payment.
- Review proposed contracts before adoption.
- Conduct internal postaudits to determine if financial controls are sufficient.
- Prepare reports suggesting improvements to management.
- Issue and record marriage license applications
- Compile and provide statistical data for state agencies and the judiciary
- Maintain records storage facilities
- Process passport applications
- Issue home solicitation permits