Wesley Chapel Chamber’s EDC Hosts Circuit Court Clerk Paula O’Neil
Since she was first elected in 2008, Paula O’Neil, the first female Clerk of the Circuit Court and County Comptroller in Pasco County’s history, has made great strides for the efficiency of her office. O’Neil has implemented a new seal for the Clerk of the 6th Circuit Court, brought in library books for those waiting for a court hearing, and brought Wi-Fi into the office (in case prospective jurors need to check their Facebook or email while waiting their turn to be interviewed for jury duty).
O’Neil was welcomed as an honored guest and featured speaker at the Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce (WCCC)’s Economic Development/ Government Committee (EDC) meeting on June 23 at American Consulting Engineers (located off of S.R. 56 on Cypress Ridge Blvd., behind the Hampton Inn), to explain some of the goals her office. Local Realtor and EDC Chairman Jeff Miller introduced the popular O’Neil at the meeting, which was attended by Wesley Chapel-area business owners, Realtors, attorneys and other Chamber members.
O’Neil, the Missouri native who worked for the county for more than 15 years prior to running for her firstever elected office, said Pasco’s offices, court rooms, and records services are finally ready to “get with the times.” She says Pasco’s courts and her office are using equipment which dates back to the 1970s, a tough job considering the 3.5-million documents the office receives each year, 38-percent of which come from the east side of Pasco County, which includes Wesley Chapel. However, the old, clunky equipment will soon be a thing of the past, O’Neil said, because her office is going digital.
The new system, she said, should go into effect in early 2012 and cost the county $585,000, but O’Neil said she is confident that this will be a much more efficient system which will quickly pay for itself. The system is called CLERICUS, and Pasco will be the 37th county in Florida to use the stateof-art case management system. Since CLERICUS is already used in more than half of the state’s 67 counties, its documents and cases from around the state will available to the clerk of courts office, and their online database with the few clicks of a mouse.
“We were wasting money by not updating our system,” O’Neil says. In addition to the digital system, the clerk‘s office is updating its website to allow easier access to public records, foreclosure listings and child support payments. O’Neil said the hardest part of her job so far was cutting 85 positions O’Neil in 2009 due to a statewide $80-million budget cut. The money used for the new computer program is a portion of the $3 million budget the clerk uses each year.
The WCCC’s EDC will host State Rep. Will Weatherford at American Consulting Engineers on Thursday, July 28, 11:30 a.m — SB