FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 1, 2016
Macomb County Clerk receives 6 new national awards, has 65 total
The National Association of Counties presented six innovation awards to the Macomb County Clerk / Register of Deeds, and will include the programs in a national database allowing other counties to emulate them. The awards were for innovation in jury services, real estate document search and concealed pistol licensing. The Macomb County Clerk has introduced a long series of high-tech improvements to her agency and has racked up 65 National Association of Counties Achievement Awards in her tenure as Clerk / Register of Deeds. The NACo Achievement Awards have been bestowed annually since the 1970’s to recognize county programs that enhance services, improve county management or promote intergovernmental coordination.
“I am proud of our union staff who worked with me to achieve these awards, which show that Macomb County is a place for innovation and good public service,” said the Macomb County Clerk. “My union staff and I have more innovation planned this year.”
The Macomb County Clerk submitted seven award nominations this year. The six clerk / register of deeds innovation awards received, include:
- Uber rides for jurors -- At no cost to the county, a jury summons now comes with a driver, providing door-to-door transportation from home to the Court Building, as the result of a first-in-the-nation plan by the County Clerk and Uber.
- Text messages to jurors -- The jury room increased juror attendance by 20% by using text messaging to remind jurors of service and to communicate with jurors during their service.
- Paying jurors in cash -- Jurors get paid in cold, hard cash the same day of their jury duty service, giving them cash for lunch, parking or other needs, with ATM-style kiosks.
- Parcel ID verification improving land records search accuracy -- Real estate record searches are now more useful and reliable thanks to a new register of deeds process that verifies parcel identification numbers, matching them to legal descriptions, on all recorded documents, creating a tract index, which establishes a chain of title based on the PIN’s.
- Online CPL applications -- Concealed pistol license applicants may apply online, preserving Second Amendment rights, while saving time, improving accuracy, and ensuring applications are legible and complete.
- Kiosk queuing system -- A “virtual queuing” system, with a FastPass appointment process, reduces customer wait times while providing valuable data for supervisors to better manage workflow and customer service.
Nationally, awards are given in 21 different categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice, county administration, environmental protection, information technology, health, civic engagement and many more. The National Association of Counties is the only national organization that represents county governments in the United States. Founded in 1935, NACo provides essential services to the nation’s 3,069 counties.
In addition to the services for which the Macomb County Clerk was recognized above, she put in place other innovative programs, including: Evening hours Wednesdays to ensure people can get personal service if they cannot leave work to visit the clerk’s office during the day.
- Providing overnight delivery service for vital records and court documents.
- Making it easier for the public to follow campaign money, including searching by individual and business donors, disclosing county and local candidate campaign finance reports in what has been called, “[T]he most transparent in Michigan for reporting County and local political money.”
- Issuing veteran photo ID cards, allowing veterans to carry proof that they are a veteran without having to carry around their DD214, enabling them to get discounts at participating area retailers.
- Partnering with Google and Xerox to create the Super Index, the nation’s best public real estate search and fraud detection tool.
- Posting online a list of committees that owe fines for campaign finance violations.
- Offering one-stop shopping with local Michigan Secretary of State offices by routinely setting up a mobile clerk's office in each SoS office, bringing clerk services to local communities.
- Using competitive bids for election supplies, saving taxpayers over $500,000.
- Partnering with the local business community to offer restaurant-style pagers to jurors, letting them shop while waiting to be sent to a courtroom. This has been upgraded to text messages.
- Accepting credit card payments, making paying for services easier.
- Preserving history by providing text-searchable County Board of Commissioners minutes and resolutions online from 1924 to the present.
- Creating online how-to videos, which explain services to the public on the Clerk’s website and YouTube channel.
- Creating a system to let committees pay campaign finance fines online.
- Allowing for immediate scanning of vital records documents with handheld scanners, saving time and physical storage space, and preventing delays.
- Allowing concealed weapons permit applicants to check their application status online.
- Providing wireless Internet access for jurors waiting to be sent to a courtroom.
- Offering a business name and death record lookup on the Internet.
- Providing free library book delivery to jurors waiting to be picked for a trial.
- Providing free bus rides to people summoned for jury duty.
- Launching a toll-free 24-hour fax-on-demand system providing forms and info.
- Helping start a Personal Protection Order Assistance Center to assist victims of abuse.
- Giving high school students a chance to “learn and earn” by hiring them as election inspectors.
- Creating an online Register of Deeds entry book, called, “The single most important step undertaken by any register in the state to stem the tide of real estate fraud,” by the General Counsel of a major title company.
- Improving the quality of concealed pistol license permits and reducing the risk of fraud.
- Using an online payment processing system to streamline online credit card payments, making it easier for customers to pay.
- Combining services with the the Health Department’s Animal Shelter at mobile office locations for one-stop shopping, enabling residents to purchase and/or renew their dog license(s) and obtain information about adopting animals, or to receive county clerk services.
- Switching to Google Apps for Government e-mail and collaboration software implementing secure Cloud Computing.
- Posting all past election results, from 1838 to the present, on the Web for anyone to view and search, increasing accessibility and preserving valuable records.
In 2012, the Macomb County Clerk was recognized by Google as a “Government Transformer.”
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