Page 1

Annual Report Office


Lydia Gardner z Orange County Clerk



Lydia Gardner

•Innovative Technology •Customer Service •Fiscal Responsibility “We operate the Orange County Clerk of Courts on sound business principles. We live by our Vision, Mission and Value Statements, which guide our ethical approach to all we do. Our Strategic Perspectives guide us on our Performance Excellence Journey.” — Clerk Lydia Gardner

As I enter my third term as Orange County Clerk of the Courts, I face challenges unimagined even a year ago. The severity of the economic decline has affected my organization in profound ways but I’m proud to say that we are facing the challenges and opportunities with a solid knowledge base, strong business ideals and a sense of great deliberation. I have always assured the community that we run our operation like a business, and that execution is a large part of why we won the Governor’s Sterling Award in 2008. We operate solely on fees and use no tax dollars to fund our operation, so fiscal responsibility is vital to our success, to our sustainability. That has never been more true. Our challenge today is revenue. Collections are down as more people struggle to pay their bills, including court fees, traffic fines and other money collected by the Clerk. The downturn in the real estate market has cut deeply into the associated fees. On the other hand, foreclosures, the most labor intensive cases we touch, numbered 26,131, a 130 percent increase over 2007. If we didn’t have the advantage of following a business model that includes a Strategic Plan, aligned processes and a measurement system that lets us know exactly how we’re doing we could not be successful. The Governor’s Sterling Award is granted to organizations that have met the Governor’s Sterling Council’s criteria for Performance Excellence, which closely mirrors the national Baldrige Management System. I’m very proud of that, but even more proud of the deputy clerks who work with me. Their hard work, innovative ideas and compassionate approach to customers humble me and I thank them for all they do. And I thank you for the privilege of serving as your Clerk. Sincerely,

Lydia Gardner Orange County Clerk of Courts

We are accountable for our actions. We commit to demonstrating fiscal responsibility as well as maintaining a high level of accountability to our community, judicial partners and employees.

“Together we make good things happen.�

Vision Statement The Orange County Clerk of Courts delivers Excellence through Efficiency and Effectiveness in everything we do.

Organizational Values Trust and respect are the foundation of our success. We treat each other with civility, striving to maintain open and honest lines of communication. We apply our policies in a fair and equal manner to all concerned. We only have one chance to make a good first impression. We believe in best serving the public by developing a team of committed and knowledgeable professionals who provide quality customer service that meets the need the first time in a prompt, courteous and competent manner. Together we make good things happen. Through teamwork we seek partnerships with our customers and our community to achieve mutual goals.

We are an agile organization that emphasizes learning. We believe our actions should parallel our commitment to excellence. It is through our integrity that we gain the confidence and trust of our employees and the public we serve. Innovation is the keyto our future. We embrace responsible risk taking that will keep us on the leading edge of quality and innovation. Diversity makes us stronger. We strive to create a workforce that reflects the community we serve while creating a workplace that respects and includes differences.

Mission Statement The mission of the Orange County Clerk of Courts is to manage information of the justice system and provide other public services for the global community in an efficient and effective manner.

Courts z Annual Report 2008 of

Customer and Stakeholder Focus Mission Achievement Operational Efficiency Employee Engagement Financial Management

Lydia Gardner z Orange County Clerk

z z z z z


Strategic Perspectives

z z Office

Guiding Principles


Clerk Lydia Gardner and Customer Support Services Manager Tom Dickey kick off the celebration for the consolidated Call Center.

z Office


Lydia Gardner z Orange County Clerk


Courts z Annual Report 2008

Customer Service


“I travel to all the others counties in Central Florida and the Orange County Clerk’s Office is a pretty well-oiled machine.” —Attorney Scott Kiernan

Customers Let Us Know What They Like When it comes to Customer Service, we aim high. And even then, we exceed our goals.

We credit a well-trained staff, a culture of compassion, and continuous improvements to our services. In 2008:

z We made it easier for customers to pay their traffic tickets online by adding easy-to-read illustrations. z We expanded our options for making payments in Juvenile cases to all of our locations. z Our branches -- Apopka, Goldenrod, Ocoee, Winter Park and our 24/7 office at the Booking and Release Center of the Orange County Jail -- thrived. z We consolidated our Call Center deputy clerks into one area to provide a more cohesive team and better coverage.

z We continued to find ways to perfect our customer interaction. We enter customer questions and concerns into a database that allows us to prioritize issues, follow through to quick resolution, communicate the outcome and document solutions. z We expanded Electronic Case Filing beyond Complex Business Litigation to include all Circuit Civil cases.

“We recognize that much of the business that people conduct with us is not happy business,’’ said Carmen Velazquez, Customer Service and Community Affairs Administrator. “It can range from paying a traffic ticket to pursuing a domestic violence injunction. So we strive for utmost efficiency, speed and accuracy.’’

We set our Customer Service Satisfaction goal at 96 percent in 2008, 1 percent above 2007’s rating. Not only did our average for the year hit 97 percent, some months it was even higher.


One of our greatest successes in 2008 was a 35 percent increase in the number of traffic payment transactions made over the Internet. We collected more than $9 million in online traffic payments, an increase of 48 percent. What are some of the benefits of paying online? z You can make a payment wherever you have Internet access. z You save time, money and are spared the aggravation of finding parking. z We save $2.26 per transaction when people make payments online. • $2.92: Average cost to process ticket payments at the counter. • 66 cents: Average cost to process ticket payments made online. We also upgraded the system to allow a customer to pay multiple tickets at one time, requiring only one transaction fee. If you do prefer paying in person, we want to make it a short drive with little to no wait at the end. We equate our partnership with Amscot to providing at least one Clerk’s branch in nearly every community – at no cost to the Clerk’s Office. More and more of our customers are taking advantage of the opportunity to pay at Amscot, which costs us just 43 cents to process vs. $2.92 at the counter, saving our Traffic Division $1.45 per transaction. When you add the courthouse, our five branches, dozens of Amscots and the Western Union facilities that also accept Orange County Clerk payments, we offer more than 300 locations to pay, not counting the most convenient -- the Internet.

$6,000,000 $4,000,000 $2,000,000 $

LockBox Phone I-Pay Amscot FY 2006 FY 2007 FY 2008

Western Union

Dollar Value Breakdown of Traffic Payments Made




FY 2006

$ 14, 905,348



FY 2007




FY 2008




Percentage Breakdown of Traffic Payments Made




FY 2006




FY 2007




FY 2008




Courts z Annual Report 2008



Remote Payments-Historial Trends

Lydia Gardner z Orange County Clerk

We believe the best thing we can do for our customers is make it easy for you and inexpensive for us to do business. We make it so easy, in fact, that in a growing number of cases you don’t have to leave home, saving you money as well.


Web Payment Transactions Up


It’s Easier Than Ever To Pay Online


Courts z Annual Report 2008 of

Lydia Gardner z Orange County Clerk of

z Office 6

e-Filing Clerk of Courts Lydia Gardner congratulates ECF Project Manager Carolyn Weber on winning the Arnie Wilkerson Memorial Court Service Award. The award, given by the Inns of Court, is named in memory of the bailiff who was killed in the 1984 Provenzano rampage on the old Orange County Courthouse and recognizes distinguished individuals who “display the highest standards of professionalism, compassion, responsiveness and ongoing dedication to the judicial system.

Electronic Case Filing Expands To Circuit Civil The Orange County Clerks Office, which helped pioneer

office,’’ says Gardner. “It’s cost- and time-efficient. It’s also good

Electronic Case Filing for Clerks Offices across Florida, expanded

for the environment, not just because it requires no paper, but

e-filing to all Circuit Civil cases in July 2008.

because it also eliminates a great deal of traffic to and from the

With nearly two years of ECF experience in Complex Business


Litigation cases, we were prepared for a smooth expansion. Among the advantages of e-filing:

Lydia Gardner Appointed Chair Of ECF Committee

Lydia Gardner has been named chairman of a statewide

z The process allows attorneys and pro-se litigants to

electronically initiate cases and subsequent

committee that will create a Florida portal for Electronic Case

pleadings 24/7.

Filing. “I’m passionate about Electronic Case Filing and appre-

ciate the opportunity to lead this very important committee,’’

z The process from intake to issuance takes a matter

of hours vs. four days when done manually.

Gardner said.

z 24/7 access means there’s no rushing to get to the

courthouse before it closes.

Gardner has a long history of experience on policy-making com-

mittees and blue-ribbon panels, having served on the Florida

z Attorneys and pro-se litigants save money on staff,

postage and other costs.

Supreme Court Committee on Privacy and Court Records, the

Orange County Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Commis-

z Attorneys and pro-se litigants are notified electronically

of any action in the case.

sion and the Orange County Jail Oversight Commission.

z Once the state Supreme Court no longer requires

backup paper files, ECF will be perfectly green.

z ECF is more efficient for the Clerk’s Office. It requires

less time and staff – and therefore money – to accept a case electronically. “My experience has been that e-filing serves the best interests of the attorney and pro-se litigant, as well as my

Total Customer Time Savings: 2008 Customer Time Savings: Total Clerk Time Savings: 2008 Clerk Time Savings: As of March 2009: Attorneys registered: Cases e-filed:

2,853,381 2,654,574 5,902 5,492 4,439 5,223

We made significant upgrades to Customers with escrow accounts can now query those accounts online and obtain transaction reports. This has been a great convenience for attorneys and pro-se litigants who file electronically. We also added online employment applications. We take every opportunity that we can to drive people to the website. In addition to our traditional means of communication, we recently added electronic signage at the Amway Arena and Orlando City Hall loops. We’re also working in partnership with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and Orange County Library System. Our customer-focused culture includes asking customers what they want and need, and many told us they felt intimidated paying online and needed some guidance. So we provided these visuals:

Citation Input Inhancement

After we did, entry errors by customers were reduced by 45 percent and their citation extension request errors went down 30

percent. At the same time, our online transactions increased 18 percent in just the first month.

New Case Maintenance System Provides Efficiencies, Stability Transparent to our customers but setting us on a firm foundation of cutting-edge 21st century technology is the continued rollout of our new Case Maintenance System, or CMS. The system stores, tracks and retrieves information from a multimillion-record data base, allowing us to efficiently serve judges as well as our stakeholders, partners and customers. Now up and running in our Probate/Mental Health, Civil and Family divisions, it will be functional in all areas by the end of 2009. “Odyssey has improved many functions for our division, including case intake,’’ says Leslie Clements of the Family Division. “This process is much faster, which means the quality of our customer service only gets better. Customers can come in, do what they need to and get out quickly. They don’t have to wait around.’’ We again thank our Technology Advisory Group, which was led by then Central Florida Bank of America President Ed Timberlake and included some of the best computer and business minds at Walt Disney World, University of Central Florida, Darden Restaurants, Orange County and many other area businesses and agencies. Their study and input helped lead us to the right company to provide us with the best possible Case Maintenance System.

Courts z Annual Report 2007 of

While you can get general information on our home page, clicking on myClerk allows you to delve deeper into cases and sales calendars and also access other agencies.

Leslie Clements of the Family Division works with customer Elizabeth Guzman of the Marin Law Firm.

Lydia Gardner z Orange County Clerk had more than 237 million hits in 2008 from people worldwide who paid fines, filed cases electronically, looked up court information, checked out upcoming foreclosure sales, downloaded forms or checked out information on everything from obtaining a passport to processing a domestic violence injunction.


We Drive Customers To Our Website So You Don’t Have To Drive At All

z Office



Courts z Annual Report 2008 of

Lydia Gardner z Orange County Clerk of

z Office 8

Collecting In Hard Times FY 2008

Budget: Total cash receipts: Fees Collected Through Collections Program: DERP Fees (for Public Defender’s Office): Fees Paid To Municipalities: Restitution: Restitution since 1999:

$40 million $183 million $14.35 million $658,900 $13,921,515 $1.9 million $11.2 million

Tough Economy Calls For Innovation Our operation is dependent on the fees we collect, which also help fund other agencies and the state. So what do you do when times are tough and people are having trouble paying their bills? We balance the harsh reality that the money might not be there with our state-mandated duty to collect outstanding fees. Our innovative approaches led the Governor’s Office to name our Collections Program the state’s Best In Class. One of our greatest innovations has been to institute payment plans. Our customers can work with a financial counselor to pay a little each month, easing the burden of a lump sum payment. Taking that a step further, in 2008, we began working the with the Orange County Corrections’ Work Release Center to educate inmates on how they could begin paying their court fees while still incarcerated. Other collection tools include: z Collections Court: Our Clerk’s Office is one of the few statewide with its own Collections Court, where offenders are assigned if they miss a payment. z Web payments: It’s easy and less expensive than driving to a branch and paying for parking. z Amscot: Nearly $3 million was collected at Amscots as customers took advantage of the neighborhood option.

Collections Supervisor Jessica Labelle answers inmates’ questions at the Orange County Work Release Center.

z Collection Agency: The agency often discovers that custom-

ers have simply forgotten they have outstanding fees. We believe the vast majority in arrears want the opportunity to clear their records. z Outcalling: We use an automated calling system to remind offenders of pending payments.

Budget ABC’s Court Clerks receive no tax dollars. Florida law requires that we operate on a portion of the money we collect through court-related fines and fees. The law further spells out where the money we collect goes and how it is spent. We keep only what is needed to cover our approved budgets. Our collections support local governments and state trust funds, as well as the Public Defender’s Office and law enforcement education programs, to name a few recipients. We are very proud that we have disbursed more than $11.2 million dollars in restitution to crime victims since 1999 and returned $15 million to the state in the past five years. Clerks statewide have returned $1.4 billion to Florida coffers in the same time frame. Our budgets are scrutinized by the Florida Department of Financial Services, the Auditor General, the Legislative Budget Commission and the Clerk of Court Operations Corporation, as well as external, independent audits.

Leadership Strategic Planning Customer and Market Focus Measurement, Analysis and Knowledge Management Workforce Focus Results

The recognition goes to organizations that have met the Governor’s Sterling Council criteria for Performance Excellence, a roadmap that closely mirrors that of the national Baldrige Management System.

The goal is an agile, innovative, fiscally responsible, forwardlooking, socially responsible learning organization that measures everything it does.

“I’m so proud of the hard work that has gone into elevating our organization to world-class status,’’ said Clerk Lydia Gardner. “While winning an award is very gratifying, especially in the company we’re in this year, the real reward is in the efficiencies we’ve gained by following the Sterling business model and tenets.’’

Excelling in each of these areas allows us to continue operating efficiently during monumental challenges like the economic decline, unimagined just a year earlier. It also allows us to adjust appropriately to efficiencies gained through Performance Excellence. Our customer service and technology innovations are but two areas where we have soared.

Other 2008 winners were Shands HealthCare; the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota; Hillsborough County Tax Collector; and Marion County Sheriff’s Office. Past winners include Florida Hospital and the city of Coral Springs, which went on to win the Baldrige Award.

Training to the model was invaluable and involved staff at all levels. Site visits from Sterling Examiner teams culminated in intense feedback.

The Governor’s Sterling Council business model is right in line with our operational philosophy. It focuses on 7 criteria for excellence:

The results can be seen throughout this Annual Report, in the great successes we’ve had and can look forward to, from Electronic Case Filing to a Best in Class Collections Program.


Gov. Charlie Crist announced in April that the Orange County Clerk of Court was a 2008 recipient of the Governor’s Sterling Award.

z z z z z z

z Office

We Win 2008 Governor’s Sterling Award

Lydia Gardner z Orange County Clerk


Gov. Charlie Crist presents Orange County Clerk of Courts Lydia Gardner and Chief Administrative Officer Howard Tipton the 2008 Governor’s Sterling Award.

Courts z Annual Report 2008

Sterling Organization



z Office of

Lydia Gardner z Orange County Clerk of

Courts z Annual Report 2007


z z Office

Lydia Gardner Orange County Clerk of the Courts

Lydia Gardner z Orange County Clerk


The diagram illustrates the Clerk of the Courts’ justice system partners and multiple customer base.

Courts z Annual Report 2007

The Information “HUB” of Justice



z Office of

Lydia Gardner z Orange County Clerk of

Courts z Annual Report 2007

Directory Orange County Clerk


Courts Directory

425 N. Orange Ave. Orlando, Florida 32802-4994 407.386.2000

Civil Division – Suite 310 Marriage License and Passports – Suite 355 Foreclosure Sales – Suite 350 at 11 a.m. Tuesday-Friday Criminal Division – Suite 250 Appeals – Suite 210

Branch Offices

Family Services Division and Child Support – Suite 320

Apopka Northwwest Orange County 1111 N. Rock Springs Road Apopka, Fl. 32712

Injunctions – Suite 315 Juvenile Division – 2000 E. Michigan St., Suite 300 Financial Services – Court Collections – Suite 460 Human Resources – Suite 530 Records Management – Suite 150 Probate/Mental Health – Suite 340 Traffic – Suite 410 Express Payment Center – Public Defender’s Building Main Courthouse Hours – 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Goldenrod Clerk’s Office East Orange County 684 S. Goldenrold Road, Suite 3684 Orlando, Florida 32822 John Young Parkway Clerk’s Office Southwest Orange County 3855 South John Young Parkway Orlando, Florida 32839 Ocoee West Orange County 475 W. Story Road Ocoee, FL. 32761 Winter Park Northeast Orange County 450 N. Lakemont Avenue Winter Park, FL. 32792

Lydia Gardner Clerk

Circuit & County Courts Orange County



Annual Report 2008 4 2 5 N o r t h O ra n g e A v e n u e Orlando, FL 32802-4994 â–

407.836.2000 â–


p u b l i c at i o n









p ar t



G o i n g G r e e n I n i t i at i v e

T h i s a n n u a l r e p o r t i s p r o v i d e d a s a p u b l i c s e r v i c e t o t h e c i t i z e n s o f O r a n g e C o u n t y. This report was funded through fees collected, not tax dollars. For more information or additional copies please contact Leesa Bainbridge Director of Communication at 407.836.2053 or

2008 Annual Report  

Our year in review