(1)(a) The Florida Clerks of Court Operations Corporation is created as a public corporation organized to perform the functions specified in this section and s. 28.36. All clerks of the circuit court shall be members of the corporation and hold their position and authority in an ex officio capacity. The functions assigned to the corporation shall be performed by an executive council pursuant to the plan of operation approved by the members.
(b)1. The executive council shall be composed of eight clerks of the court elected by the clerks of the courts for a term of 2 years, with two clerks from counties with a population of fewer than 100,000, two clerks from counties with a population of at least 100,000 but fewer than 500,000, two clerks from counties with a population of at least 500,000 but fewer than 1 million, and two clerks from counties with a population of 1 million or more. The executive council shall also include, as ex officio members, a designee of the President of the Senate and a designee of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall designate one additional member to represent the state courts system.
2. Members of the executive council of the corporation are subject to ss. 112.313(1)-(8), (10), (12), and (15); 112.3135; and 112.3143(2). For purposes of applying ss. 112.313(1)-(8), (10), (12), and (15); 112.3135; and 112.3143(2) to activities of executive council members, members shall be considered public officers and the corporation shall be considered the members’ agency.
(c) The corporation shall be considered a political subdivision of the state and shall be exempt from the corporate income tax. The corporation is not subject to chapter 120.
(d) The functions assigned to the corporation under this section and ss. 28.36 and 28.37 are considered to be for a valid public purpose. (2) The duties of the corporation shall include the following:
(a) Adopting a plan of operation including a detailed budget for the corporation.
(b) Conducting the election of an executive council as required in paragraph (1)(b).
(c) Recommending to the Legislature changes in the amounts of the various court-related fines, fees, service charges, and costs established by law to ensure reasonable and adequate funding of the clerks of the court in the performance of their court-related functions.
(d) Developing and certifying a uniform system of workload measures and applicable workload standards for court-related functions as developed by the corporation and clerk workload performance in meeting the workload performance standards. These workload measures and workload performance standards shall be designed to facilitate an objective determination of the performance of each clerk in accordance with minimum standards for fiscal management, operational efficiency, and effective collection of fines, fees, service charges, and court costs. The corporation shall develop the workload measures and workload performance standards in consultation with the Legislature. When the corporation finds a clerk has not met the workload performance standards, the corporation shall identify the nature of each deficiency and any corrective action recommended and taken by the affected clerk of the court. For quarterly periods ending on the last day of March, June, September, and December of each year, the corporation shall notify the Legislature of any clerk not meeting workload performance standards and provide a copy of any corrective action plans. Such notifications must be submitted no later than 45 days after the end of the preceding quarterly period. As used in this subsection, the term:
1. “Workload measures” means the measurement of the activities and frequency of the work required for the clerk to adequately perform the court-related duties of the office as defined by the membership of the Florida Clerks of Court Operations Corporation.
2. “Workload performance standards” means the standards developed to measure the timeliness and effectiveness of the activities that are accomplished by the clerk in the performance of the court-related duties of the office as defined by the membership of the Florida Clerks of Court Operations Corporation.
(e) Entering into a contract with the Department of Financial Services for the department to audit the court-related expenditures of individual clerks pursuant to s. 17.03. (f) Approving the proposed budgets submitted by clerks of the court pursuant to s. 28.36. The corporation must ensure that the total combined budgets of the clerks of the court do not exceed the total estimated revenues from fees, service charges, court costs, and fines for court-related functions available for court-related expenditures as determined by the most recent Revenue Estimating Conference, plus the total of unspent budgeted funds for court-related functions carried forward by the clerks of the court from the previous county fiscal year, plus the balance of funds remaining in the Clerks of the Court Trust Fund after the transfer of funds to the General Revenue Fund required pursuant to s. 28.37(4)(b), and plus any appropriations for court-related functions. The corporation may amend any individual clerk of the court budget to ensure compliance with this paragraph and must consider performance measures, workload performance standards, workload measures, and expense data before modifying the budget. As part of this process, the corporation shall:
1. Calculate the minimum amount of revenue necessary for each clerk of the court to efficiently perform the list of court-related functions specified in paragraph (3)(a). The corporation shall apply the workload measures appropriate for determining the individual level of review required to fund the clerk’s budget.
2. Prepare a cost comparison of similarly situated clerks of the court, based on county population and numbers of filings, using the standard list of court-related functions specified in paragraph (3)(a).
3. Conduct an annual base budget review and an annual budget exercise examining the total budget of each clerk of the court. The review shall examine revenues from all sources, expenses of court-related functions, and expenses of noncourt-related functions as necessary to determine that court-related revenues are not being used for noncourt-related purposes. The review and exercise shall identify potential targeted budget reductions in the percentage amount provided in Schedule VIII-B of the state’s previous year’s legislative budget instructions, as referenced in s. 216.023(3), or an equivalent schedule or instruction as may be adopted by the Legislature.
4. Identify those proposed budgets containing funding for items not included on the standard list of court-related functions specified in paragraph (3)(a).
5. Identify those clerks projected to have court-related revenues insufficient to fund their anticipated court-related expenditures.
6. Use revenue estimates based on the official estimate for funds from fees, service charges, court costs, and fines for court-related functions accruing to the clerks of the court made by the Revenue Estimating Conference, as well as any unspent budgeted funds for court-related functions carried forward by the clerks of the court from the previous county fiscal year and the balance of funds remaining in the Clerks of the Court Trust Fund after the transfer of funds to the General Revenue Fund required pursuant to s. 28.37(4)(b), plus any appropriations for the purpose of funding court-related functions.
7. Identify pay and benefit increases in any proposed clerk budget, including, but not limited to, cost of living increases, merit increases, and bonuses.
8. Identify increases in anticipated expenditures in any clerk budget that exceeds the current year budget by more than 3 percent.
9. Identify the budget of any clerk which exceeds the average budget of similarly situated clerks by more than 10 percent.
For the purposes of this paragraph, the term “unspent budgeted funds for court-related functions” means undisbursed funds included in the clerks of the courts budgets for court-related functions established pursuant to this section and s. 28.36.
(g) Developing and conducting clerk education programs.
(h) Preparing and submitting a report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the chairs of the legislative appropriations committees by January 1 of each year on the operations and activities of the corporation and detailing the budget development for the clerks of the court and the end-of-year reconciliation of actual expenditures versus projected expenditures for each clerk of court.
(3)(a) The list of court-related functions that clerks may fund from filing fees, service charges, court costs, and fines is limited to those functions expressly authorized by law or court rule. Those functions include the following: case maintenance; records management; court preparation and attendance; processing the assignment, reopening, and reassignment of cases; processing of appeals; collection and distribution of fines, fees, service charges, and court costs; processing of bond forfeiture payments; data collection and reporting; determinations of indigent status; and paying reasonable administrative support costs to enable the clerk of the court to carry out these court-related functions.
(b) The list of court-related functions that clerks may not fund from filing fees, service charges, costs, and fines includes:
1. Those functions not specified within paragraph (a).
2. Functions assigned by administrative orders which are not required for the clerk to perform the functions in paragraph (a).
3. Enhanced levels of service which are not required for the clerk to perform the functions in paragraph (a).
4. Functions identified as local requirements in law or local optional programs.