The County Clerk
The County Clerk is one of several independent, elected officials provided by the Washington State Constitution, with specific and special duties assigned by statute, local and state court rules. The position of County Clerk is best characterized as the administrative and financial officer of the Superior Court. The purpose of the office of County Clerk is to ensure the separation of powers among the three branches of government by preserving the integrity of the judiciary. Those three branches are Executive, Judicial and Legislative. This purpose is accomplished in three ways.
By being independent of the judicial branch, the Clerk protects the judiciary from the appearance of impropriety or unfairness in the setting of cases, implementation of orders, or investment of funds.
The Clerk is located in the Executive Branch of government and provides the avenue for external oversight of the judiciary without legislative or executive branch interference with its actions, integrity or independence.
As an independent elected official, the Clerk preserves for the public unfettered access to a fair, accurate, and independently established record of the opinions, decisions, and judgments of the court.
Specific functions of the County Clerk include:
Administrator of court records and exhibits: All documents presented in a superior court cause of action must be received and processed by the Clerk. The processing of court documents involves record classification, assignment of cause number, computerized docketing and manual filing of hard copy records. Records must be maintained, retained and purged in accordance with statutory time constraints, and required archival standards.
Financial Officer for the Courts: As the court's agent, the Clerk collects statutory fees, fines, trust funds and support funds; she maintains a trust account for monies received; she has established an accounting system for receipting and disbursing monies ordered by the court; and the Clerk further provides an investment plan for monies held. The collection, accounting and investment of court monies are done to ensure that the interests of the public and the county are secured.
Quasi-judicial Officer: For the issuance of writs, subpoenas, and other court-related orders, the Clerk serves a quasi-judicial function (to exercise discretion of judicial nature.)
Duties: Review court documents for possible errors; perform acts required by law; issue letters testamentary; warrants (civil and criminal), and writs of execution, garnishment, attachments, restitution and orders of sale.
Ex Officio Clerk of the Court: Under the Constitution of the State of Washington, the Clerk has the title of Ex officio clerk of the court. This requires the Clerk's presence at all court sessions for the purpose of receiving and recording court documents and exhibits; and to establish an independent record of court proceedings for the public.
Justice System Administrator: In this role, the Clerk identifies and articulates the changing needs of the court record processing, of the storage, retrieval and disposal of documents, records and exhibits; and of the collection, accounting and investment of court monies to ensure that the interests of the public and the county are secured.
Departmental Administrator: As the administrator of a county department, the Clerk has the responsibility to establish office policies, budgets, and procedures in accordance with the established guidelines and policies of the Board of County Commissioners.
Accuracy and Efficiency
Operations and Workload
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Grays Harbor County Clerk: