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Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.
Office sought: DuPage Clerk of the Circuit Court
Family: Married,three kids
Occupation: DuPage County Clerk of the Circuit Court
Education: BA, Monmouth College, Monmouth,IL 1977
Civic involvement: AYSO Soccer Coach Elmhurst Baseball League-Coach Girls Softball Elmhurst Junior Dukes - Wrestling Coach Masonic Elmhurst Lodge 941 Medinah Shirner Order of AHEPA, DuPage Chapter# 423 Americans of Italian Descent Illinois State Crime Commission Addison Township Republican Committeeman's Organization
Elected offices held: Addison Township Assessor - 1991 to 2004 Alternate Delegate, Republican National Convention - 1996 Alternate Delegate, Republican National Convention - 2000 Republican State Central Committeeman 2009 to Present Republican Precinct Committeeman, 1977 to Present
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: NO
What attributes do you bring to the supervisory role circuit court clerk? What makes you more qualified than your opponent to do the job?
Experience is always the first attribute. I was the Addison Township Assessor from 1991 to 2004. While the office is small, the responsibilities were enormous. We were dealing with personnel, budgets and ever changing statutes in a position that is very important to the Real Estate Tax cycle. Through my leadership position in the Illinois Assessors Association I opposed many legislative bills that would hurt the property tax payer and supported many good laws such as the Property Tax Cap and the Senior Citizen Assessment Freeze. I appeared many times before key General Assembly committees and remained as expert source over my tenure. I left the office feeling we made several changes that were good for the taxpayers including reducing the office?s headcount, budget and moving the technology bar higher than my predecessor. I took that experience and have built on it over the last 8 years. The Office of the Clerk of the DuPage Circuit Court has responsibilities assigned to it by the Illinois General Assembly and the Illinois Supreme Court.
There are 3704 references to court clerks in the Illinois Revised Statutes and 1610 references in the Rules of Court. In addition to being the keeper of all court records and responsibility for manning all courtrooms, the court clerk collects and disburses revenues for the County, local governments and the State of Illinois. My office disbursed approximately $22 million to the County General Revenue Fund as well as distributing funds to local governments, the DuPage County State?s Attorney, the DuPage County Sheriff and the State of Illinois My office files in excess of 250,000 new cases each year.
Each case generates a minimum seven to twelve events that require twenty to thirty actions of business. Over 2.7 million documents are filed in new and existing cases. Approximately 1200 visitors use my office each day and my office responds to over 1600 telephone inquiries each day. This volume has been handled using of one of the most advanced case management systems in the State of Illinois. This case management system allows for electronic filing, document imaging, computer generated court orders and electronic judicial signatures, plea and payment by mail, online cash registers and computer access to all court files, online court forms and information. This advanced case management system allows court information available electronically to the public, police agencies, the legal community and other justice agencies.
Over the past nine budgets I have been able not only to institute and improve the electronic case management system but have also increased the collection of unpaid fines and monies owed to the County collecting approximately $23 million since the institution of the program. The initiation and expansion of the E-ticket program now in use by the Sheriff and various police agencies not only reduces the time police officers have to spend on traffic stops and eliminates delays between the arrest and receipt of ticket information in my office. It is but a first step in my plan to have a paperless traffic court system in DuPage County which would be the first paperless traffic court system in Illinois. My office funds supplies and equipment for the E-ticket program using special funds. In addition, the expansion and improvement of the case management system allows for electronic preparation of requests for Orders of Protection, automated restitution for crime victims, telephonic continuances of traffic court cases and electronic filing of initial court cases and documents in existing cases by attorneys and pro se litigants. The accuracy of our case management system has resulted in the Illinois Supreme Court's selection of my office to participate in the first electronic filing system for appeals in the State of Illinois.
No office can accomplish increased service with fewer personnel and constant budget control without effective management and dedicated personnel. Strict management controls and procedures have led to increased efficiency and flexibility. In fiscal year 2012 a two phase cross-training plan was completed.
Nearly 80% of my employees have been cross trained in all phases of office operations, from courtroom assignment, to counter assistance to telephone information services. This has allowed my office to provide increased services with lower personnel and the elimination of two supervisory positions while at the same time enhancing customer service. We have reduced personnel by the outsourcing of image processing and document storage and by the use of lockbox services for process payment of fines by mail. Additional areas of outsourcing are being considered in order to keep my head count stable. We continue as office to look for the next challenge, the next way we can save taxpayer dollars and move the Judicial system, not only in DuPage County but in the state, forward. I have had the wonderful opportunity to lead two great offices and we have made different in our actions.
What changes would you propose to improve the operation of the circuit court clerk's office? Why?
Electronic notification. With a potential reduction in United States Postal Authority services the 18th Circuit must find alternative methods of court notification and meet the Standards of the ILCS and Supreme Court rules. Three years ago we were successful in passing legislation allowing for electronic notification under the law. I have written the Secretary of State Jessie White requesting that he support legislation making a personal email address a minimum identifier. Upon permission of the defendant or witness the notification would be emailed. This would create savings in postage, paper and labor among other budgetary line items. Expansion of Digital warrants. Expanding electronic warrants to all cases types will save time in putting the warrant in the hands of law enforcement. The manual process can take along as 3 days. The electronic process will take only seconds after transmission. Additionally, the LEIDS system will reflect the warrant issued and/or served in seconds. Payment of Pre-Payment tickets at the Window. Allowing the defendant to pay the bond with a debit or credit card and plead guilty at the time on the traffic stop.
How can the circuit court clerk's office improve public access to court records and other documents? Please be specific.
Policies on manual and electronic access to court records by the public are under the control of the Illinois Supreme Court and local court rules. At the present time the Illinois Supreme Court has allowed only a limited electronic access to circuit court records. However, I have been appointed by the Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court to a committee reviewing present electronic access policies and recommending changes to the present policy to allow more electronic access to court records. The Illinois Supreme Court will have the final decision on expansion of electronic access to circuit court records.
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