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Tara Green provides insight into services to Clay Chamber

Clerk of Courts Office has myriad of responsibilities

Posted 8/24/23

ORANGE PARK – Clay County Comptroller and Clerk of the Courts Tara Green presented an insight on how her office functions to the Clay Chamber’s Finally Friday meeting on Aug. 18.

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Tara Green provides insight into services to Clay Chamber

Clerk of Courts Office has myriad of responsibilities


Posted

ORANGE PARK – Clay County Comptroller and Clerk of the Courts Tara Green presented an insight on how her office functions to the Clay Chamber’s Finally Friday meeting on Aug. 18.

Green started by listing staggering statistics. She said the organization has 631 employees and produces 18,711 invoices. She said the county collects $266.3 million in revenues. 

The office plays a large role in county business, recording meeting minutes at Board of County Commissioners’ meetings twice monthly at the Administration Building in Green Cove Springs. Their records date back to 1969, but Green has bigger ambitions. “I want to go back to 1870,” she said. 

Her organization’s record-keeping and other roles are to protect the county officials and the public.

“We are big about bringing in the public because the courthouse is not just for judges, not just for (the Clerk of Court and Comptroller), and not just for the state attorneys. It’s your taxpayer dollars that pay for that,” Green said. 

Protecting commissioners and their decision-making processes, ensuring the effective management of the county, safeguarding taxpayers’ interest and dollars, and fostering a sense of transparency to the public in the courthouse are key priorities, Green said. She underscored the courthouse’s accessibility to the public, reminding residents that taxpayers fund the building and it’s open to the public.

Green said Public Information Officer, Mary Justino, is ramping up tours. Just stop by and say hello if you want an inside look into mega-operation that plays such a crucial role in the successful operation of the county, she said. 

Among all that, tracking grant revenues and payments from 2,500 vendors and suppliers managed by the county are part of the daily routine. If that doesn’t keep her organization busy, fraud does – a factor that she must consider.

“We pay them timely and legally, but we have to ensure they exist. Some sketchy people out there will try anything,” Green said. 

Preserving artifacts is an item that’s important. She wowed members and guests when talking about the full evidence room.

Civil evidence is a snooze.

“It’s just a bunch of paperwork and court forms,” she said.

But criminal evidence is a 360-degree turn.

“There’s some pretty interesting stuff in there,” she said. Evidence like DNA from cases dating back to the late 1960s and early 1970s is maintained, such as a gory murder that was committed with an axe.

“We still have that sweatshirt, and we still have that axe. We have to preserve it. It sounds easy, but it’s not because it deteriorates over time. A lot of work and money goes into that,” she said. 

Another thing not to forget: head to her office if you plan on applying for or renewing your passport now.

“Don’t wait until the last minute because you’ll probably not get it in time. It’s terrible because so many families come in that say they’re going across the sea in three weeks, and I’m like, ‘No, you’re not.’ It’s heartbreaking because they’ve invested all that money, and now, they must change everything. I take every chance I get to try to educate people on that,” she said. 

Numbers have skyrocketed since the pandemic. She said 8,000 passport transactions had been completed, and residents from Duval have come to her office after hearing about faster and better service. She said it could take approximately eight to 12 weeks, with a maximum of 18 weeks, to receive a passport.

“If you’re going out of the country and don’t have a passport or need it updated, go ahead and do that now,” she said.