The Clerk of the Circuit Court is required to attend all sessions of Court, keep and preserve all records and files of the Court, issue process as required by law, and is the Keeper of the Seal of the Court.The Circuit Court, under the Illinois Constitution, is the trial level court. It handles every type of case from a parking ticket to a murder case, from Small Claims to a multi-million dollar personal injury suit, and from adoption to the probate of an estate. Currently, DuPage County, the second largest courts system in the state, has fifteen (15) Circuit Judges and twenty-six (26) associates.
I am currently a practicing attorney for an expanding law firm located in Chicago. I oversee one of the three revenue generating departments consisting of attorneys and other staff members. Prior to my legal career, I worked for a company at which I managed teams of over 100 staff members, generated revenue in the millions, assisted with the installation of new software programs, and handled a magnitude of Human Resource issues. I believe that I am the candidate most qualified for this position because my legal background and experience puts me in the unique position of knowing what systems in the Clerk’s Office are working well or could use improvement. I believe my management experience qualifies me to lead teams as big as the Clerk’s Office and has prepared me for handling budgets as large as this department requires. Finally, I believe both my management skills and the requirements of my current job have afforded me the experience of developing new revenue generation.
First, I would reallocate some of the personnel to better assist with the transition from paper to paperless in our courtrooms. Currently, courtroom staff is being asked to handle both the court call and training on the new systems. Additional personnel in each courtroom is necessary to ease the transition.
Second, I would review and work to make much needed changes to some of our filing costs. Some of the current fees we charge penalize some of the most vulnerable in our County. We need a comprehensive review of the fee schedule to ensure that we are charging appropriate fees for documents being filed.
My third priority is to make court services and resources more fairly and equally accessible. Some neighboring counties provide community outreach efforts like expungement summits and amnesty days that clear pathways to jobs, military entrance, etc. Bringing programs like these to DuPage, or better supporting current initiatives with resources from this Office, is a main priority.
Much of the information that maintained by the Clerk’s Office is a matter of public record. If elected, I hope to expedite the modernization of our systems including making most court documents fully viewable online. There are filings and other sensitive court information, however, that need the protection from public view. The Clerk’s Office had a team dedicated to modernizing the systems while at the same time ensuring only the appropriate information is accessible by the public. I plan on using a portion of the budget for this Office to ensure we have the most up to date security features and to ensure we have qualified personnel overseeing our systems to prevent any breach.
Award winning former township elected official and current Circuit Clerk, under my watch has created the most technological, efficient court management system in the state. The following are some of the electronic solutions that have changed the way the judiciary does business in the State of Illinois: Electronic filing (1st in the state), Mandatory E- filing (1st in the state), E-appeals (1st in the state), Electronic Signatures, Video warrants and On-Line Traffic Ticket Payment. Our biggest solution has been the On-Line Order of Protection – creating a web-based program, with built – in safety measures to protect petitioner and gain rapid access to the court and law enforcement. During my tenure as Circuit Clerk I have served on several Supreme Court Appointed Committees. These committees have been instrumental in the re- shaping of the court system. Additionally, I have had the honor of serving as president of the Illinois Association of Court Clerks and the Countywide Officials.
I will continue to press the Secretary of State to add email addresses to the minimum identifiers for driver licenses renewals. Our office could use email for court appearances, reminders for court appearances and for all related official contact with the defendant. This would allow for a large savings in postage, man-power and paper. My first letter to the SOS was in 2011, I will continue to pursue the issue because of the potential benefits to the taxpayer. We will continue develop critical solutions like our On-line Orders of Protection, where the petitioner, usually a mom with children can get before the court and law enforcement at a expedited rate.
We will continue high-quality support to the courts, public, policing agencies, county departments (SA, PD, Probation, Sheriff, Appellate court), while operating with a reduced number of personnel.
This is accomplished primarily by making use of technology, some specifics include:
- Modernized websites created and maintained by the DuPage County Circuit Clerk’s office
o www.18thjudicial.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
- Sharing of information through interfaces between the Clerk’s Case Management System and those of SA, Probation, Sheriff, WebRMS
- Integration with the state-required EfileIL system for civil filings
- Implementation of Criminal Traffic Assessment Act requirements. The statutory changes have completely re-developed how filing fees, fines, costs are assessed
- Modernization and expanded use of the VP2 Electronic Citation application
- Increased use of electronic court orders
In a public forum I will not discuss the current layers of security.