CLERK OF COURT & COMPTROLLER
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FLORIDA
This is Sunshine Week, the annual national celebration of open government. At the Clerk’s Office, the sun shines every day. Let me count the ways.
Our approach is summed up on every page of this website in three words: Integrity, transparency and accountability. They apply to every aspect of our operations, and particularly our philosophy about open government.
I have been a staunch supporter of Florida’s Government in the Sunshine law for 40 years, starting with my service on the Hillsborough School Board and during my time in the Florida House, the Florida Senate and the Hillsborough County Commission.
When I was in the Senate, I led a campaign to force the Legislature to abide by the same Sunshine laws local governments must follow. My campaign led to tighter legislative rules that continue to this day.
As Hillsborough’s independently elected Clerk of Court & Comptroller, I oversee an office that deals with public records and open meetings every single day. We take our duties very seriously and train our staff to be responsive to public records requests in a timely manner.
We have placed court records online and made them easy to find through a simple search engine.
We have converted millions of pages of paper documents and placed them online. Hillsborough County Commission minutes, documents, contracts, zoning master records and lobbyist registration records are all online.
You can search invoices for the Clerk’s Office, and soon you’ll be able to do the same for Hillsborough County government.
The County Audit Department maintains copies of audit reports going back to 2012 that you can view online.
As the accountant and treasurer for the Board of County Commissioners as well as chief financial officer of Hillsborough County, we publish detailed financial reports that can be viewed here.
You can search online for any marriage license issued since 1972, and older licenses are on microfilm at our Official Records Office at 419 Pierce St. in downtown Tampa.
Deeds, mortgages and other official records are also searchable online.
All foreclosure auctions are done online, making it much easier for the public to participate in distressed real estate sales. Soon we will have all tax deeds online along with tax deed auctions.Our commitment to public access to public records must be balanced by a right to privacy. That’s why we take great pains to redact confidential information—22 separate categories in court records alone!—such as social security numbers and bank account numbers before a record is released.