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A Productive Year in Public Service: 2023 Achievements

In celebration of a successful year, our office’s various departments have provided a list of accomplishments and recognitions to share with our community. This report covers new system implementations and development, workplace upgrades and improvements, community outreach and engagement, and more. I hope this accomplishment report will showcase our team’s capabilities and perseverance in improving our services and the community’s services.


Collier County Courts Division

Our Courts Division (CD) implemented a new jury system with online check-in and questionnaires that  facilitate faster and smoother streamlining of the jury process. Employees were cross trained to assist with processing jury members during peak hours.

One of my primary priorities has been improving access to records through digitization. This year, our Courts Division was able to transfer 284 boxes of court files to digital files. The team successfully implemented the e-filing of prison packets to our local sheriff’s office and the Department of Corrections which shortened the time the defendants are held in our local jail.  The digitizing process reduces overall costs for records storage, paper, toner, and printers. 

The CD was heavily involved in creating and implementing enhanced workflow for multiple docket codes and the development of a Web Toolkit to assist supervisors in programming changes without taking up programmers’ time for simple fixes. Members of the Courts division attended and engaged in Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking training provided by the Women’s Shelter, held two presentations to the State Attorney’s Office new hires, and trained seven law students in courts related duties during their internship. They worked through all of these despite the staffing shortage and without impeding services to the public or the courts.


Recording Division

The Recording Division completed the conversion of 100 years of Collier County documents, microfilm and microfiche Official Records to electronic and accessible images. The conversion of these permanent documents preserves them and facilitates on-line public access through the Clerk’s website.

To improve efficiency for Collier County Taxpayers, we installed a central customer service desk in the courthouse annex and added a ticket-based queuing system.  Through this system, we are now able to guide individuals to the appropriate area to speed services. We invested in a more modern interface that expanded the search capabilities for Official Records Searches. The public now has more comprehensive access to the county’s official records. In coordination with Finance and Collier County, our office created a new Public Notices website to facilitate the posting of public notices in a single, accessible location. Ads for Tax Deed sales are currently posted with additional publications being added over the next few months.   

Several community events held in 2023 were organized by the Recording Division including the Passport Saturday event in April 2023 which provided citizens access to passport services outside the typical Monday through Friday workweek. More than 180 passports were processed, establishing a new single day record. The Recording department hosted the 3rd Annual Valentine’s Wedding and Vow Renewal Ceremony at the 21 Spices by Chef Asif in East Naples where more than 30 couples participated in a special wedding ceremony I officiated. The wedding chapel in the courthouse annex has been refreshed to create a new environment for couples getting married. 

Clerk’s IT Division

The Clerk’s IT Division (CIT) assisted in the digitizing of Official Records to provide the public with access to 1.2 million additional images.  CIT led one of the most complex projects in our office with the system upgrade of the SAP ECC to SAP S/4 HANA in May. In this project, CIT successfully migrated and transformed more than 20 years of historical financial and HR data, decommissioned a dated Windows Users Interface requiring regular IT intervention in favor of a web-based access, and conducted Quick Start training for approximately 700 users as part of the user access enablement.

Following the successful system migration, they developed and launched four self-paced SAP training courses to enhance the skillset of employees.  This allows on-demand access for initial training and as needed refresher training and reduces dependency on live trainers allowing new hires to be authorized system access more quickly. SAP Training Courses were deployed by leveraging existing Collier University’s Learning Management System at a minimum cost to taxpayers. CIT also created 14 SAP Quick Reference Guides to facilitate user efficiency and independence.

Matters of safety and cybersecurity were addressed by installing OIG secure access with Cisco Camera phones so that a person waiting at the door can be seen before the door is opened. A 3rd party evaluator completed a comprehensive security review of our cybersecurity including a GAP analysis to measure our security standards against internationally recognized standard (NIST). The CIT Division performed internal review of telephone transfer charges saving over $500 per month.

CIT outfitted the multipurpose room in the first-floor atrium for audio and video. The room is used to make public sales (Tax Deeds and Foreclosures) more professional and efficient while the Atrium continues to be used for customer intake and general information to assist the public.  Overall, CIT kept applications and system software updated and current to ensure Clerk departments have the latest features and the most reliable security.


Finance and Accounting

During fiscal year 2023, the Clerk to Board’s Accounts Payable Department audited 146,398 invoices, a 1.0% increase over the prior year. Of the 146,398 invoices received, 9,250 were referred to county departments as non-conforming and required further validation or information. As a result of the increased focus on capital and infrastructure improvements in Collier County, many of these payment applications are complex and involve millions of taxpayer dollars. Among these payments were over 4,500 individual payment requests related to grant programs available through Collier County. These grant applications require that the audit function be performed by professionals who understand the myriad of rules and regulations associated with each individual program.

The Clerk to Board’s Payroll Department audited 60,295 payroll disbursements, an increase of 4.5% over the prior year.  The Payroll Department processes the related W-2, quarterly filings and Florida Retirement System pension reporting for the Clerk’s Office, the Board of County Commissioners and the Supervisor of Elections Office.  The Payroll Department processed $171.7M in gross payroll disbursements.

One of our most important fiduciary responsibilities is that of investor of surplus funds for the County.  The investment performance for fiscal year 2023 was historic in terms of interest revenue earned, with $48.9M in cash postings.  The monthly average balance invested was over $2B. The ordered objectives of the Clerk and Comptroller’s investment program are safety, liquidity and yield. The investment program pools the cash activity of the over 200 funds operated by the Board of County Commissioners. The pooling of the cash allows for economies of scale relating to the investment of the underlying funds. Earnings are allocated across the funds based upon their average daily balance, with all funds participating. 

Our Finance and Accounting Division was recognized with two awards for excellence in financial reporting. In the spring of 2023, we received recognition with the Certificate of Achievement for Popular Financial Reporting for the FY22 Popular Annual Financial Report. The popular financial report strives to provide constituents and interested parties with a more readable and understandable presentation of the same information presented in the Annual Comprehensive Financial Report. Later in the year, we were recognized for the 36th consecutive year with the prestigious Government Finance Officers Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2022.


Human Resources Division

The Human Resources Division (HR) reviewed and revised eleven Human Resources policies as well as modified all job descriptions to match current pay plan, requirements, and responsibilities which can be viewed on our Job Opportunities page.  Additionally, we developed a career progression ladder for deputy clerks in the Courts, Recording, and Satellite offices to increase care mobility for hourly staff which will be implemented in FY24. Following our 2023 goal of engaging with the community, HR attended several events at local colleges, CareerSource, community organizations, and Naples Chamber of Commerce Job Fair. This led to an increase in volunteers and partnerships, including the summer internship of nine law students from Ave Maria. 

HR created instructions for several SAP procedures and audited and updated data in SAP for the Success Factor Implementation, which will provide time capture and enhance cost analytics. The HR staff worked with the Sheriff’s office to provide response to active shooter training to enhance security. To improve employees’ annual reviews and provide constructive feedback, HR conducted one on one meetings with supervisors and facilitated healthy workplace discussions with staff.


Goals for 2024

Following the huge successes that we had in 2023, our office has envisioned several goals for 2024. This year, we plan to complete the conversion of court records to make them more accessible to the public. We are working to provide accessible Pro-Bono legal services to the public through partnership with the Collier Bar Association and our self-help center for those who do not have the financial capacity to seek legal services. We will complete the SAP conversion of payroll processes that will provide enhanced tracking and reporting and complete e-certifying for on-line records, making it easier for the public to obtain certified copies of their records.

To help reduce government costs countywide, we plan to provide access to governmental legal advertising to additional municipalities. I will continue working with the Board of County Commissioners and the legislature in discussing funding issues to secure sufficient funding for court services and improvements. It is also my goal to increase public presentations by 50% to encourage customer engagement with our office, if you would like a service presentation for your community or organization, please email community.outreach@collierclerk.com to confirm a date!

In 2024, we will continue to enhance our official website at collierclerk.com for additional educational and access purposes and continue meeting criteria for reporting excellence and court reporting standards.  If you have user suggestions to improve our website, please let us know.

We will continue moving forward, improving services and outreach to the Community. I hope you will continue your support and participation for upcoming projects and events.  We hope to make 2024 even greater for our Community!

Click here to read the full January 2024 Newsletter.