UPDATE: 07/25/2014 AT NOON
E-mail from Jodi German of Clerk of Courts office re: costs/recovery of costs of e-filing system
Mont. Co. notes
Today at 9:33 AM
To: MARTIN OLSON
In my notes from an OCCA session that a representative from Montgomery County spoke about their e-filing, I have the following "With costs savings in reducing staff (through attrition) and savings in salary and benefits, they recouped their initial costs in 2 years, saving $780,000 per year."
Legal Division Administrator
Stark County Clerk of Court's Office
115 Market Ave N. Suite 101
Canton, OH 44702
UPDATE AT 09:00 AM
COMMISSIONER JANET CREIGHTON
CREDITING A WOMAN
GETTING "E-FILE" STARTED
MONTGOMERY COUNTY OFFICIALS
E-FILE IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY
STARK CO. COURT OFFICIALS
STARK CO COMMISSIONERS
STARK CO. OFFICIALS
Commissioner Janet Weir Creighton said at yesterday's regular meeting of the Stark County Board of Commissioners that "it took a woman" to get the job done.
And right Creighton is.
For nearly ten years Stark County officialdom (dominated by male leadership) has sat idly by quite content to live in the comfort of the 20th if not the 19th century in terms of implementing technology so as to save Stark County taxpayers millions of dollars over the past ten years, more or less.
In 2006, Montgomery County (the Dayton area) got a system of electronic court filings up and running (the first in all of Ohio) and officials could not be more pleased with the results.
As gratified as the court officials are, taxpayers have to be "jumping for joy!"
It will be at least nine (9) months until Stark County's taxpayers begin to see the benefits of the Stark County's implementation of e-filing that would not be that close to realization had it not been for Judge Taryn Heath seizing the initiative with Clerk of Courts Nancy Reinbold (in 2011) to get behind a Stark County effort to bring the county into the 21st technological century.
Below is a video of a presentation by Clerk of Courts Reinbold, her top level deputy Jodi German and Court of Common Pleas chief administrator Marc Warner made to commissioners yesterday.
Not to focus unduly on the fact that it has been Stark County female leadership that is bringing Stark County officialdom "kicking and screaming" into the 21st century, The Stark County Political Report notes that Warner has also been "a key person" in bringing e-filing to Stark County and the many, many dollars it will ultimately be keeping in the wallets and purses of everyday Stark Countians.
As seen in the video immediately below, Warner, the SCPR thinks, makes a mistake that many government officials make. He says that the cost of the putting the e-filing system place is not paid for by taxpayers in that "the users" pay for it.
To the SCPR, at one level or another "users" are taxpayers and while Warner acknowledges that it is "public money" which is paying for the system, he seems to be making "a distinction that is not a difference."
The most that can be said for Warner's point is that as far as users being the payers for the system is that they are a narrower band of taxpayers than the general taxpaying public.
Another Warner point that needs to be picked up on by Stark County's municipal court judges; namely,
"Potentially" Stark County's municipal courts could be participating.
You have be to kidding!
For instance, the SCPR has heard Massillon City Council member Paul Manson complain about the huge increase over the last ten years or so that the Massillon courts are costing Massillon taxpayers.
One would think that Massillon court officials would be eager to use the e-filing system to lessen the court's expense to Massillon taxpayers, no?
And the same, no doubt, applies to the Canton and Alliance courts.
Why are Alliance, Canton and Massillon court officials dragging their feet on this opportunity to save their respective taxpaying base money?
One more thing, while the SCPR is at it in criticizing the administration of Stark's municipal courts, is to point out that the "muny" courts are not fully utilizing the database that has been set up under the Stark CJIS (Criminal Justice Information System).
The Court of Common Pleas (CCP) is far advanced over the "munys" in that, for those who are CJIS CCP authorized users, access is available to download copies of docketed pleadings.
The Report "once upon a time" asked former Canton Municipal Court chief deputy (now retired) Randy Gonzalez (another former Stark County Democratic Party chairman) about this lagging phenomenon on the part of the "munys."
All the SCPR got was a "shrug of the shoulders."
As seen in the press conference video below, not one Stark County municipal court figure (according to Clerk Reinbold) has "stepped up to the plate" on this issue in following the lead of Judge Heath.
Reinbold's old boss at the Stark County clerk of courts office; namely, Phil Giavasis is being out done on the e-filing thing by her.
Maybe he is preoccupied with being the newly elected chairman of the Stark County Democratic Party?
And, perhaps, Johnnie A. Maier, Jr (Massillon's clerk of courts, a former Stark Dems' chairman who is still heavily involved in Massillon and Stark County politics) has the same problem?
Nonetheless and nevertheless, it is good to see Stark County getting "on-board" finally due to the work of Heath, Reinbold, German and Warner.
After the presentation, the SCPR and Nancy Molnar of the Akron Beacon Journal engaged Reinbold, German and Warner in a Q&A as a follow up to their presentation the commissioners.
An investigation by the SCPR of sources available on a simple Internet search reveals that as early as the middle 1980s progressive and efficiency-oriented public officials (the first actual implementation taking place in 1985) looking for ways to save taxpayer dollars figured out that e-filing was a way to do just that.
One of the best summaries of the pluses of e-filing is contained in an Ohio Supreme Court memorandum on the topic, to wit: (an extract)
The SCPR has experience in trying to get local government agencies to adopt the efficiencies of electronic ways of serving the tax paying public.
It was "like pulling teeth" to get the Neanderthals who run the Stark County Board of Elections to scan in campaign finance reports as they are filed so that they can be e-mailed to requesters of public records.
Recently, North Cantonians have had "a devil of a time" getting Law Director Tim Fox to honor requests that public record responses be sent to them by e-mail.
Much, much more can be done at the State of Ohio and county level of government to make information and processes of government available electronically to Stark County's citizens.
The Stark County Political Report proposes that the Board of Stark County Commissioners form a Stark County Government Task Force on Ways of Means to Implement Electronic Efficiencies.
It was all well and good for Commissioner Creighton to laud Judge Heath as a woman to bring Stark County into the 21st century.
Though The Report understands that her comment on "it taking a woman" was done in jest, her humor does bring to mind the following "serious" question:
Is Commissioner Creighton willing "to lead the way" in pushing for the creation of the aforementioned task force so as to assess all Stark County government operations in all departments of county government in terms of implementing technology and thereby make county government "all that it can be" in providing maximum access to citizens and in the process, lessen the cost of government?