Texas Decides 2018 Voters Guide
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Voters Guide

Collin County District Clerk

4-year term. Must be 18 years or older, a U.S. citizen, a resident of Texas, and a resident of the district represented. Responsible for the judicial records of the District Courts.

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    Lynne Finley

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    Karmin Kirschner

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Biographical Information

Records: What are the challenges in protecting the accuracy and integrity of records of the district courts and how would you address them?

Growth: How would you manage the District Clerk’s office to keep pace with the expected growth in district court cases?

Vision: If elected, what would you most like to accomplish during the next term?

Other issues: What other issues do you believe will be most pressing for the District Clerk, and what is your position on these issues?

Education Bachelor of Arts -Telecommunications -Cum Laude -Texas Tech University; Doctor of Jurisprudence - South Texas College of Law; Master of Arts Degree - Mass Communication - Texas Tech University
Experience Collin County District Clerk, Senior Attorney for Finley & Associates Risk Manager/General Counsel, Corporate Counsel/Director of Human Resources for Healthcare Corporations
Campaign Phone (972) 489-4304
Population growth and mandatory electronic filing for both civil and criminal cases has caused a significant increase in the amount of data that flows through the District Clerk’s office with more than 15,000 electronic filings a month. Integrating this increased data load into Collin County’s Case Management System (CMS) in real time has produced significant challenges in protecting the accuracy and integrity of the judicial records. As the District Clerk, my office seamlessly transitioned to e-filing in all criminal cases in July of 2017. I have increased quality control, reduced error rates, and increased accessibility. This was accomplished through more effective staff training and adding new capabilities to our CMS system to expand access while improving security and privacy protections in areas such as mental health and child protective cases. I will continue to measure, monitor and improve our systems and employees who are both critical to protecting the records.
Managing the District Clerk’s office has been my responsibility for the last 20 months. As an attorney for 23 years, I have witnessed increasing levels of technology in the judicial process. From document scanners, to electronic forms and database optimization, our processes are driven by technology. I managed the e-filing transition for criminal cases in the district courts. I worked with the Sheriff’s office to improve officer security by evaluating and improving warrant procedures that incorporated real time integration between our offices making the warrant procedures faster, more accurate, and less cumbersome. My policy of encouraging greater collaboration with other County offices such as law enforcement and specialized courts will allow continued development and implementation of better technology, training, and procedures to provide proactive solutions to enable the District Clerk’s office to keep pace with expected growth in district court cases.

As the Collin County District Clerk, during the next term I would most like to accomplish increased accessibility, better security, and greater transparency in the judicial process. As a licensed attorney and a member of the Texas Judicial Council Civil Justice Committee’s Advisory Council, I have the privilege and opportunity to work with our Texas Supreme Court and the Office of Court Administration to make recommendations on proposed changes to improve citizen access to Texas courts. As a member of the Odyssey File & Serve (OFS) steering committee, I am helping to improve the current eFiling system and working to influence the future development of secure platforms for the flow and storage of case information. I will continue to work during the next term to provide our citizens, lawyers and judges with increased accessibility, better security, and greater transparency in the judicial process.
Streamlining, simplifying and improving the jury management system to provide greater convenience for potential jurors, while still maintaining an effective juror pool for the courts, is an issue that will be most pressing for the District Clerk to address in the next term. The District Clerk is responsible for identifying, contacting, and coordinating qualified potential jurors for all cases in Collin County for District, County, Probate and Justice of the Peace Courts. Through the effective use of software and computer systems, my office seeks to increase juror response rates, provide greater communication and convenience for potential jurors, decrease county costs and maintain an effective juror pool for the courts to function at optimal efficiency.
Education Bachelor of Science, Business Computer Information Systems; University of North Texas
Experience Currently Quantitative Analyst with Nationstar Mortgage Senior Business Analyst, Ocwen Financial Business Analyst, MilesTek Corp Information Manager, TaxNetUSA
Campaign Phone (972) 914-9443
In working with data for over 10 years, data inaccuracies will occur without proper procedures regardless of industry. Procedures need to be reviewed periodically AND each time a change is implemented so that all clerks are processing documents in the same manner. With the unprecedented growth in Collin County, procedures will often need updating, so these reviews will be at the top of the list. Security is another important issue. As Collin County grows, so will the amount of records to be processed. Standards must be in place to protect sensitive personal information on documents that are scanned into the system and made available for public access. We must create a balance between protected data and making all other information available to the public. Last point would be in regards to disaster planning and recovery. Both physical disasters and electronic data issues can threaten operations. If elected, I will review these procedures within the first month of office.
In the corporate world, we collaborate with business areas before our group begins project development. The absolute most important step would include talking to the employees on the front lines in the District Clerk's office and asking them what challenges they are facing with the increased demands and listening to their input on how to resolve. In addition, I would hold cross-training sessions so that employees can be flexible as the needs of the office change. Your employees are your biggest asset! Implementing a scorecard for both internal customers (such as law enforcement and judges) and external customers (the public and lawyers) will help us gauge our successes month-over-month. On the back end, we must identify the current system limitations and project growth to determine the point at which we may have issues. That will allow time to develop solutions before we hit those limits, and possible changes to software to create room to grow.
My first goal is to decrease eFile rejections. I've participated in many project implementations as an analyst, and it is to be noted that no major projects ever have a completely seamless transition. That being said, it has been over a year since criminal cases have converted to eFile (July 2017). I will compare internal procedures to the SCoTX-mandated local rules (misc docket no. 15-9051) to verify we have no additional, unnecessary reasons for rejection. Then, we will also develop a guide for attorneys to address how to avoid the most common rejection reasons. Next, a system needs to be developed to notify court coordinators when a letter of representation has been filed with the clerk. One does not currently exist. Finally, I will ensure a culture of respect for all people. We will develop teamwork, engagement, and positivity as part of the organizational culture as well. A safe and enjoyable work environment decreases turnover while increasing contribution to the community.
I'd like to share my motivation before answering this question. I've worked in reporting and analytics for 10 years, from managing data on servers to building reporting from government documents to make sure my company is in compliance with laws that came after the mortgage crisis. But at the end of the day, corporate success does not leave me fulfilled. I want to use my education and skills I've learned on the job to contribute to the prosperous community in which I am blessed to live with my family. Speaking with attorneys and citizens in the community, I've become aware of a few areas that need attention. I will make sure every district court follows the local rules to make sure ex parte protective orders are heard and individuals not sent away while their safety is in jeopardy. For any issue, doing the right and lawful thing will always be my position.