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Carbon clerk chips away at backlog

Published September 16. 2019 01:15PM

$3,217,000 in assessed costs and fines.

$1 million deposited from cases.

$668,000 disbursed to Carbon County.

$188,836 in restitution to victims.

Twelve months of a 27-month backlog completely resolved.

These are just a few of the figures Carbon County Clerk of Courts Francine Heaney gave during an update to the board of commissioners on Thursday.

“We have made a lot of progress in our office,” she said, complimenting her staff, as well as all who have helped in the daunting process of undoing over two years of backlogs the clerk of courts office had under former clerk William McGinley.

Heaney said that since January, her office has been keeping current on their daily workload, in addition to filing through the backlog, as well as getting back into the courtroom with the judges on the required hearings.

Her office is now in the process of correcting case processes so Carbon County can again properly track cases as it move through the system.

“The DA’s office can run their (reports), we know what cases are active, know which ones are closed,” Heaney said. “We had been having problems because the processes were not done correctly in the past.”

She thanked the commissioners, court staff and all involved in helping her office by providing extra staff and approving extra hours to get through the mountain of backlog.

“This is what we have done with teamwork,” she said.

Heaney was confirmed as the new clerk of courts by Gov. Tom Wolf and the Senate in October and was sworn in by Senior District Judge Edward Lewis on Oct. 22.

She replaced McGinley, who retired abruptly after 28 years in the position last May and was later charged by the state Attorney General’s office with taking nearly $45,000 in bail money and prison booking/fingerprint fees.

McGinley has since pleaded guilty to theft by failure to make required deposition of funds, a felony; tampering with evidence and obstruction of administration of the law and is expected to be sentenced on those charges on Nov. 15.

The County is very lucky to have this smart, honest and industrious woman cleaning up this mess. Challengers with less of these personal assets think their party affiliation makes them more qualified.
I agree. I look at the slate of candidates for various elected positions coming up in the November General Election and I wonder what makes some of them think they are qualified to fill the position or manage the office and supervise people who have been doing these jobs for many years. I believe that there are some who think name recognition will award them with a “cushy” job, a nice paycheck and excellent benefits. Also believing that they won’t have to do too much work because as an elected official there’s nobody looking over their shoulder to insure accountability.

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