28.35 Florida Clerks of Court Operations Corporation.—
(1)(a) The Florida Clerks of Court Operations Corporation is created as a public corporation organized to perform the functions specified in this section and s. 28.36. All clerks of the circuit court shall be members of the corporation and hold their position and authority in an ex officio capacity. The functions assigned to the corporation shall be performed by an executive council pursuant to the plan of operation approved by the members.
(b)1. The executive council shall be composed of eight clerks of the court elected by the clerks of the courts for a term of 2 years, with two clerks from counties with a population of fewer than 100,000, two clerks from counties with a population of at least 100,000 but fewer than 500,000, two clerks from counties with a population of at least 500,000 but fewer than 1 million, and two clerks from counties with a population of 1 million or more. The executive council shall also include, as ex officio members, a designee of the President of the Senate and a designee of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall designate one additional member to represent the state courts system.
2. Members of the executive council of the corporation are subject to ss. 112.313(1)-(8), (10), (12), and (15); 112.3135; and 112.3143(2). For purposes of applying ss. 112.313(1)-(8), (10), (12), and (15); 112.3135; and 112.3143(2) to activities of executive council members, members shall be considered public officers and the corporation shall be considered the members’ agency.
(c) The corporation shall be considered a political subdivision of the state and shall be exempt from the corporate income tax. The corporation is not subject to chapter 120.
(d) The functions assigned to the corporation under this section and ss. 28.36 and 28.37 are considered to be for a valid public purpose.
(2) The duties of the corporation shall include the following:
(a) Adopting a plan of operation.
(b) Conducting the election of an executive council as required in paragraph (1)(b).
(c) Recommending to the Legislature changes in the amounts of the various court-related fines, fees, service charges, and costs established by law to ensure reasonable and adequate funding of the clerks of the court in the performance of their court-related functions.
(d) Developing and certifying a uniform system of workload measures and applicable workload standards for court-related functions as developed by the corporation and clerk workload performance in meeting the workload performance standards. These workload measures and workload performance standards shall be designed to facilitate an objective determination of the performance of each clerk in accordance with minimum standards for fiscal management, operational efficiency, and effective collection of fines, fees, service charges, and court costs. The corporation shall develop the workload measures and workload performance standards in consultation with the Legislature. When the corporation finds a clerk has not met the workload performance standards, the corporation shall identify the nature of each deficiency and any corrective action recommended and taken by the affected clerk of the court. The corporation shall notify the Legislature of any clerk not meeting workload performance standards and provide a copy of any corrective action plans. As used in this subsection, the term:
1. “Workload measures” means the measurement of the activities and frequency of the work required for the clerk to adequately perform the court-related duties of the office as defined by the membership of the Florida Clerks of Court Operations Corporation.
2. “Workload performance standards” means the standards developed to measure the timeliness and effectiveness of the activities that are accomplished by the clerk in the performance of the court-related duties of the office as defined by the membership of the Florida Clerks of Court Operations Corporation.
(e) Entering into a contract with the Department of Financial Services for the department to audit the court-related expenditures of individual clerks pursuant to s. 17.03.
(f) Reviewing, certifying, and recommending proposed budgets submitted by clerks of the court pursuant to s. 28.36. As part of this process, the corporation shall:
1. Calculate the minimum amount of revenue necessary for each clerk of the court to efficiently perform the list of court-related functions specified in paragraph (3)(a). The corporation shall apply the workload measures appropriate for determining the individual level of review required to fund the clerk’s budget.
2. Prepare a cost comparison of similarly situated clerks of the court, based on county population and numbers of filings, using the standard list of court-related functions specified in paragraph (3)(a).
3. Conduct an annual base budget review and an annual budget exercise examining the total budget of each clerk of the court. The review shall examine revenues from all sources, expenses of court-related functions, and expenses of noncourt-related functions as necessary to determine that court-related revenues are not being used for noncourt-related purposes. The review and exercise shall identify potential targeted budget reductions in the percentage amount provided in Schedule VIII-B of the state’s previous year’s legislative budget instructions, as referenced in s. 216.023(3), or an equivalent schedule or instruction as may be adopted by the Legislature.
4. Identify those proposed budgets containing funding for items not included on the standard list of court-related functions specified in paragraph (3)(a).
5. Identify those clerks projected to have court-related revenues insufficient to fund their anticipated court-related expenditures.
6. Use revenue estimates based on the official estimate for funds accruing to the clerks of the court made by the Revenue Estimating Conference.
7. Identify and report pay and benefit increases in any proposed clerk budget, including, but not limited to, cost of living increases, merit increases, and bonuses.
8. Provide detailed explanation for increases in anticipated expenditures in any clerk budget that exceeds the current year budget by more than 3 percent.
9. Identify and report the budget of any clerk which exceeds the average budget of similarly situated clerks by more than 10 percent.
(g) Developing and conducting clerk education programs.
(h) Beginning August 1, 2014, and each August 1 thereafter, submitting to the Legislative Budget Commission, as provided in s. 11.90, its proposed budget and the information described in paragraph (f), as well as the proposed budgets for each clerk of the court. Before October 1 of each year beginning in 2014, the Legislative Budget Commission shall consider the submitted budgets and shall approve, disapprove, or amend and approve the corporation’s budget and shall approve, disapprove, or amend and approve the total of the clerks’ combined budgets or any individual clerk’s budget. If the Legislative Budget Commission fails to approve or amend and approve the corporation’s budget or the clerks’ combined budgets before October 1, the clerk shall continue to perform the court-related functions based upon the clerk’s budget for the previous county fiscal year.
(3)(a) The list of court-related functions that clerks may fund from filing fees, service charges, costs, and fines is limited to those functions expressly authorized by law or court rule. Those functions include the following: case maintenance; records management; court preparation and attendance; processing the assignment, reopening, and reassignment of cases; processing of appeals; collection and distribution of fines, fees, service charges, and court costs; processing of bond forfeiture payments; payment of jurors and witnesses; payment of expenses for meals or lodging provided to jurors; data collection and reporting; processing of jurors; determinations of indigent status; and paying reasonable administrative support costs to enable the clerk of the court to carry out these court-related functions.
(b) The list of court-related functions that clerks may not fund from filing fees, service charges, costs, and fines includes:
1. Those functions not specified within paragraph (a).
2. Functions assigned by administrative orders which are not required for the clerk to perform the functions in paragraph (a).
3. Enhanced levels of service which are not required for the clerk to perform the functions in paragraph (a).
4. Functions identified as local requirements in law or local optional programs.
(4) The corporation shall be funded pursuant to a contract with the Chief Financial Officer. Funds shall be provided to the Chief Financial Officer for such purpose as appropriated by general law. Such funds shall be available to the corporation for the performance of the duties and responsibilities set forth in this section. The corporation shall participate in the Florida Retirement System for its eligible employees as provided in chapter 121. The corporation may hire staff and pay other expenses from such funds as necessary to perform the official duties and responsibilities of the corporation as described in this section.
(5) Certified public accountants conducting audits of counties pursuant to s. 218.39 shall report, as part of the audit, whether the clerks of the courts have complied with the requirements of this section and s. 28.36. In addition, each clerk of court shall forward a copy of the financial audit to the Florida Clerks of Court Operations Corporation. The Auditor General shall develop a compliance supplement for the audit of compliance with the budgets and applicable workload performance standards certified by the corporation.
History.—s. 36, ch. 2003-402; s. 23, ch. 2004-265; s. 2, ch. 2005-2; s. 2, ch. 2006-312; s. 9, ch. 2008-111; s. 3, ch. 2009-204; s. 3, ch. 2011-52; s. 6, ch. 2013-44; s. 1, ch. 2014-183.