Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Clerk Of The Circuit Court Message: In Partnership

By Pat Frank

Partnerships do work. When we pool our resources, the end result is invariably better. This applies to so many situations, personal as well as professional. Although the Clerk of the Circuit Court is an independently elected constitutional officer, our office does not exist on an island ― although I sometimes wish, in stressful times, that I were on one!

On a more serious note, I am grateful for the partnerships we have formed, working together for the common good, with the Hillsborough County government, the City of Tampa, and other constitutional officers and members of the Florida Legislature, to name a few. I am also truly appreciative of our partnerships with both the Hillsborough County Bar Association and The Florida Bar.

Your leadership has stood strongly for us when we faced serious threats to funding from legislation pending before the Florida Legislature ― opposing cuts that would have greatly hindered our ability to do our job and fulfill our constitutional duties. You have recognized that it is essential for us to have sufficient funding now more than ever, as we transition to e-filing with the goal of creating an overall paperless court system. 

We are now in the process of implementing our new Odyssey case-maintenance system in the criminal court areas. Here, too, we are partnering ― in this case, with the state attorney, the public defender, the sheriff’s office, the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, the Florida Department of Corrections, and the Department of Juvenile Justice. By working together, we enhance the overall exchange of electronic information, doing it more rapidly and accurately.

Partnerships define us in other key areas of our operations. For example, Project 1 is a historic agreement for shared implementation of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. Our office is partnering with Hillsborough County, the county’s Civil Service Board, and the City of Tampa in this groundbreaking project. ERP systems are integrated software solutions that can replace dozens of existing programs, typically focusing on financial and human resource software. Integrated systems share common data between modules.

Project 1 also includes the following agencies that use one or more of the county’s accounting, budget, procurement, human resources, and/or payroll systems: the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit; the County Attorney’s Office; the Environmental Protection Commission; the Board of County Commissioners; the Auditor’s Office; the Law Library; the City-County Planning Commission; the Public Transportation Commission; the Soil and Water Conservation Board; the Office of the Supervisor of Elections; and Victim Assistance.

The point is, we don’t operate in silos ― especially now, as technology has flattened out our operations to make us more accessible to you, as well as to the public we serve.