I received my Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of South Florida and my law degree from Florida State University. Recently I became a Florida Supreme Court Certified Clerk of Court.
Civic Organizations (limit 75 words)
Clerk Russell is a member of the local chapter of the NAACP, a member of the Florida Bar, the Orange County Bar, The Virgil Hawkins Chapter of the National Bar, Paul C.Perkins Bar, Central Florida Women’s Lawyer Association, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Psi Theta Omega Chapter and the Life Center Church of Eatonville, Florida.
Statewide, Clerk Russell is a member of several committees, including the Florida Court Clerks and Comptrollers’ Self Help/ Pro Se Committee, Legislative Committee, and the Judicial Relations Committee, ensuring that issues that directly impact clerk’s offices throughout Florida are addressed.
Why are you running? (limit 150 words)
I am running for re-election as the Orange County Clerk of Courts, because I am focused on continued development of technology, access to the courts system and continuing the tradition of providing world-class customer service to the citizens of Orange County. In my first year as Clerk, I have led the organization into building a new division, the Self Help Center. Customers can meet one-on-one with attorneys to obtain legal advice on certain family and civil cases. Also under my leadership, we launched the organization’s new online court records search, My E Clerk. Since then, millions of records have been made possible to view online. I will continue to serve the citizens of Orange County by educating them on the services we offer and developing new projects to enhance their experience when they visit our office.
What related experience would you bring to this office? (limit 150 words)
My many years of public service in Orange County make me fit for the role of Orange County Clerk. I have been a public servant throughout my career. After attending law school I worked for Legal Services right here in Central Florida. I then became the youngest county commissioner ever elected to Orange County and served for 8 years. With my experience, I have been able to build relationships in the community with fellow lawyers, elected officials, civic leaders, but most importantly the citizens of Orange County. I understand the issues they face when they come to the courthouse. I have taken the initiative to develop new projects and to educate the public about the services that the Clerk’s office offers and I will continue to do so when I am re-elected.
Name the top three challenges facing the office. (limit 150 words)
The first challenge facing the Clerk’s Office and Clerks’ Offices throughout the state of Florida is the budget deficit and inadequate funding. For the past two years, Clerks statewide have petitioned the legislature to address the funding deficit. Unfortunately, budget challenges will continue to be an issue until that is resolved.
The second challenge facing the Clerk’s Office is the attempt by the Orange County Charter Review to make constitutional officers charter officers. This will remove Constitutional Officers from becoming independently elected officials and we are unable to predict the true impact this would have on the six offices should this pass.
The third challenge facing the office is staying competitive in regards to personnel and competitive salaries and skill set. The economy and job force is improving in Orange County and it places pressure on local government to remain competitive with the Private Sector.
How would you address these challenges? (limit 150 words)
Since I have been the Clerk, I have met with our local delegation of state legislatures, whether it’s hosting an information session in my office to help them understand the funding issues we are having, meeting them individually at their district office, and traveling to Tallahassee serving on the Legislative Committee and attending Clerk Day at the Capitol. It is important to develop relationships with your legislature, no matter what party they belong to, so they can understand the important issues you are facing. I will continue to do this when I am re-elected.
I have made numerous presentations to the Orange County Charter Review Commission to speak against the proposed charter amendments. I will continue to speak to the community against this ballot initiative.
Lastly, my Human Resources Department continues to conduct salary evaluations to monitor the private sector and government agencies. We also look to create employee engagement opportunities to supplement what we are unable to do in the form of money.