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Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller: Karen Rushing

Rushing, the longtime Sarasota County Clerk, will face challenger Todd Barton in the general election.

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  • | 5:45 a.m. October 21, 2016
  • Sarasota
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Age: 62

Hometown:  Nissequogue, N.Y.

Political Party: Republican


  • First elected in 1987
  • Named Clerk of the Year three times by Florida Association of Clerks and Comptrollers
  • Certified Fraud Examiner
  • Certified Strategic Planner
  • Master’s Degree in Business Administration
  • Served as President, Chair of strategic Planning and now serving for the past 7 years as Legislative Chair for Florida Clerks and Comptrollers
  • Recipient of Certificate of excellence in financial reporting 20 + years
  • USF’s 2002 Distinguished Alumni Award
  • Advisor to the United States Department of Commerce’s Commercial Law Department – Project Judicial Reform – Angola, Africa

What qualifies you for this elected position?

Serving as Clerk and County Comptroller since 1987, I have been recognized throughout the country as a progressive leader in financial excellence, customer service and technology.  Education and post graduate work consists of:  MBA, Credentialed Fraud Examiner, and John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Why do you think people should care about this race?

The Clerk of the Circuit Court and County Comptroller is an independent authority responsible for investing approximately $1 billion on behalf of tax payers, accounting for more than $1 billion across many activity centers, and managing and protecting the official records of other elected officers such as the Sarasota County Commission and the Court.

This office performs approximately 1,000 different constitutional and statutory functions and duties and this number continues to grow as a result of changes in legislation, regulations and reporting requirements.  The duties impact and touch the lives of the people that live in our community.

People should care about this race because no other office touches so many people’s lives from cradle to grave.  Whether it be joyous matters such as adoption, marriage, home purchase, or less fortunate times, probate, guardianship, divorce, lawsuits and other such matters the resources are available to assist.  But this is just one small piece of the responsibilities of the office.  As comptroller, this office invests tax dollars into the market place, audits spending of tax dollars and investigates fraud waste and abuse.  The community deserves a leader who has a background in all the responsibilities of the office.

If elected, what would be your top three priorities after you are sworn in?

Augment the alignment of financial resources to ensure technology mandates imposed by the courts, legislature and the governing board of the county are implemented timely and mitigate labor costs. 

Utilize the intuitive design of the newly deployed, mobile friendly website, to provide easy access to information and services of the core systems (Courts, Recording, Finance and Audit) such as:  Implement an e-filing system for those unrepresented by legal counsel. 

Assist the legislature and court with addressing archaic laws that impede access to court/county government records and services.

Do you have any major overhauls planned for any of your departments?  If so, what are they and why?

As customer demands continually redefine how convenient service should be delivered — faster and easier — the resources of the past four years have been dedicating to upgrading the core application platforms (finance, audit, recording and courts) and ensuring upgrades included not only efficiencies for the Clerk and Comptroller but for those who use the office on a daily basis.  The users of our systems include the general public but also include, law enforcement, attorney general, prosecutors, attorneys, vendors, financial institutions, bond market regulatory institutions, other governmental offices as well as all the regulatory agencies.   Now we are ready, with legislative and court support, to dedicate financial resources to developing and offering even more electronic service options to customers whom need  — or prefer — to conduct their business “On-Line” instead of “In-Line” (in person).  

Why do you think voters should keep you in office?

My passion is providing great service to the citizens of Sarasota County.  This has led to a 97% overall customer satisfaction rating.  My tenure has been dedicated to mastering the complexities of all the services provided by the Clerk and Comptroller to the citizens of this community.  The knowledge gained over my tenure has resulted in recognition as a strong leader in the State and around the country for excellence in financial reporting, customer service and technology services.  I am the candidate with the expertise to lead this complex organization that goes way beyond court services. 


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