Section 28.35, Florida Statutes 2009
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 and shall be administratively housed within the Justice Administrative Commission. The corporation shall be a budget entity within the Justice Administrative Commission, and its employees shall be considered state employees. The corporation is not subject to control, supervision, or direction by the Justice Administrative Commission in the performance of its duties, but the employees of the corporation shall be governed by the classification plan and salary and benefits plan of the Justice Administrative Commission. The classification plan must have a separate chapter for the corporation. 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) 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 more than 1 million. 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.
(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 the provisions of 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 directors as required in paragraph (1)(a).
(c) Recommending to the Legislature changes in the various court-related fines, fees, service charges, and court costs established by law.
(d) Developing and certifying a uniform system of performance measures and applicable performance standards for the functions specified in paragraph (3)(a) and the service unit costs required in s. 28.36 and measures for clerk performance in meeting the performance standards. These measures and 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 performance measures and performance standards in consultation with the Legislature and the Supreme Court. The Legislature may modify the clerk performance measures and performance standards in legislation implementing the General Appropriations Act or other law. When the corporation finds a clerk has not met the 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 and the Supreme Court of any clerk not meeting performance standards and provide a copy of any corrective action plans.
(e) Reviewing proposed budgets submitted by clerks of the court pursuant to s. 28.36.
(f) Developing and conducting clerk education programs.
(g) Publishing a uniform schedule of actual fees, service charges, and costs charged by a clerk of the court pursuant to general law.
(3)(a) The court-related functions that clerks may perform are 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 reasonable administrative support to enable the clerk of the court to carry out these court-related functions.
(b) The functions that clerks may not fund from state appropriations include:
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 prepare a legislative budget request for the resources necessary to perform its duties, submit the request pursuant to chapter 216, and be funded as a budget entity in the General Appropriations Act. The corporation may hire staff and pay other expenses from state appropriations as necessary to perform the official duties and responsibilities of the corporation as described by law.
(5)(a) The corporation shall submit an annual audited financial statement to the Auditor General in a form and manner prescribed by the Auditor General. The Auditor General shall conduct an annual audit of the operations of the corporation, including the use of funds and compliance with the provisions of this section and ss. 28.36 and 28.37.
(b) Certified public accountants conducting audits of counties pursuant to s. 218.39 shall report, as part of the audit, whether or not 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 portion of the financial audit relating to the court-related duties of the clerk of court to the Supreme Court. The Auditor General shall develop a compliance supplement for the audit of compliance with the budgets and applicable 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.