The clerk of court can no longer serve effectively unless he/she embraces technology. Accordingly, Mr. Gegenheimer devoted his third term to improving the office’s existing technology and formulating a strategic plan for the 21st century:
1. Improving the integrated criminal justice system by, among other things, expanding it to encompass the traffic and misdemeanor courts and the juvenile court.
2. Developing an electronic filing and record-storage/retrieval mechanism for all court documents, which can be available to the public on the Internet.
3. Making land records, already scanned and stored electronically, available on-line via the Internet and paving the way for the electronic filing of land records.
4. Implementing an electronic (paperless) trial procedure where documents and other forms of solid evidence are introduced, displayed, and preserved for the record by electronic image.
5. Enhancing the already computerized jury-management system by creating a detailed computer database of each eligible citizen’s jury-service history. This will assure fairness in jury-service excusals and selection.
6. Computerizing the marriage-license department to save applicants time and money.
7. Computerizing the elections-administration system to allow quick, on-line, Internet access to election results, polling place locations, and dates of scheduled elections.
The agenda outlined above was ambitious, indeed, as it was complex, multifaceted, and expensive. During his fourth term, Mr. Gegenheimer made significant progress in each of the seven specified areas, and actually completed items 5, 6, and 7.
Items 1 through 4 require further detailed, time-consuming planning and implementation. Perfection of all of the intricate procedures involved in those projects will depend on unprecedented co-ordination and cooperation among the clerk of court, all judges, all lawyers, the district attorney, the sheriff, the indigent defender board, and others. Mr. Gegenheimer intends to secure that cooperation.
During his fifth term, Mr. Gegenheimer continued his substantial efforts to bring about the full computerization of the court, land-records, jury-management, and elections-administration systems. The clerk of court’s office completed items 2 and 3 and made substantial progress on items 1 and 4.
In his sixth term, Mr. Gegenheimer saw completion of the entire 7-Point Plan as well as implementation of an electronic filing procedure in the mortgage and conveyance office. The movement towards efficient, paperless court and land records filing continues; and by the end of the sixth term, the courthouse will be almost completely paperless.
In his seventh term, Mr. Gegenheimer’s outstanding IT staff made state-of-the-art improvements to the office’s technology across all areas: courts, land records, jury management, and elections administration. The successes in the 7-Point Plan for Reform were substantially broadened. For this continued improvement, the National Association of County Recorders, Elections Officials and Clerks awarded him in 2014 as its Public Official of the Year, and in 2012 its Best Practices awards for court and elections administration.
As well, Mr. Gegenheimer made several improvements in jury administration, including on-line rescheduling of jury service, reducing jury administration costs, and calling fewer citizens for jury duty. For those accomplishments, he received in 2014 the prestigious G. Thomas Munsterman Award for Jury Innovation from the National Center for State Courts.
Mr. Gegenheimer and his staff are formulating a strategic plan for the future … beyond the 7-Point Plan.