From the Orange County Clerk of Courts
The Orange County Clerk of Courts has been forced to close offices and implement furloughs one day a week due to the financial impact from COVID-19.
Starting the week of August 10th, all Clerk Office employees will be furloughed one day per week without pay until October 2, 2020 or until relief funding is obtained. For most employees, that day will be Friday of each week. Clerk offices will be closed for all services each Friday during this time period.
“I am saddened and deeply regret that I have to take these steps,” said Clerk Tiffany Moore Russell. “My staff are essential workers and many of them live on tight budgets, so I know this will be a hardship that I wish I could avoid.”
The impact on the public and courts may be significant as the Clerk’s Office provides critical and essential services, per statute, to circuit and county courts.
While many entities and families have been impacted by COVID-19, its effect is particularly severe for Florida’s Clerks of Court because of the unique way the offices are funded under Florida law. Clerks have no statutory authority to create or maintain a reserve or emergency fund. Clerks are funded by fines, and fees and court costs which they collect, and which have been greatly reduced during the pandemic.
The pandemic has created a major challenge for Clerks of the Court across the state requiring a $60 million reduction in operating funds. This resulted in a cut of $3.8 million to the Orange County Clerk’s court operations budget. This amounts to a 53.04% cut to the Orange County Clerks’ 4th quarter budget.
The Clerk’s Office is working closely with Orange County Government and the Governor to try and obtain emergency funding to help address this funding crisis.