If I asked you, off the top of your head, what happens at the office of the Clerk of the Superior Court of  Maricopa County would you know?  It was  a pleasure to welcome County Court Clerk Chris DeRose to Gilbert Rotary, Chris was appointed to his position by Governor Doug Ducey in March following the retirement of his predecessor who held the office for 20 years. Chris is vying for a full 4 year term in the upcoming elections (the clerk’s office in Arizona is an elected position). His reason for hitting the speaking trail is to address the question posed above and to promote his office and raise visibility to the citizens of Maricopa County.

DeRose manages a staff of 715 employees and a  $40 million budget.  Who has weekend hours at the Court? Who works evening hours at the Court? The answer to both is the Clerk’s Office. If you are seeking a passport or a marriage license you will probably enjoy your visit to his office. If you are getting divorced or involved in litigation of some kind, probably not so much. Coming from the private sector mostly, the objective of his office is to “treat everyone like a customer that can make or break our business.”

DeRose has spent time in the private sector and thus wants to infuse within the office best practices from the business world. When he took office he discovered that the office processes $250,000 in transactions on a daily basis , with NONE being online. By the end of the year the Clerk’s Office will add an online portal for business.  He envisions his office as the business agent for the fourth largest court system in the United States. His goal as well is to digitize court records for search online by October of 2018. Additionally they are facing a docket lag of 3-4 days and are hiring people to work remotely to keep the docket up to date.

Wanting to respond to the members, he opened the remainder of his time for questions, addressing a number of topics:

  • 33% of filings are now electronic. Juvenile filings rare digital and his goal is to move to being a paperless court.
  • The Clerk of the Superior Court’s office is funded by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and citizens fund through property tax.
  • Maricopa County and Pima County are the only clerks that do not handle jury commissions. The Superior Court  performs that duty in Maricopa County.
  • DeRose is running for a regular 4 year term on the upcoming Republican primary ballot. His is opposed in the primary.
  • DeRose is the first attorney to hold the office of Clerk of the Superior Court.

Thanks to Chris for taking time out of a busy schedule to connect with Gilbert Rotary.