Sandra Cianci, Republican

Age: 56

Occupation: Clerk of the Circuit Court for Kankakee County

Education: Graduated from Maternity BVM, and Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School. Earned Associate’s Degree, Kankakee Community College; Bachelor’s Degree and Masters of Business Administration from Olivet Nazarene University

Relevant experience: Clerk of the Circuit Court since 2010. Currently, I am the Immediate Past President Illinois Association of Court Clerks (first Kankakee Clerk who has presided over the 102 counties); additionally, appointed by Illinois Supreme Court to Judicial College Commission, creating Circuit Clerk Continuing Education curriculum; and Bail Bond Reform Commission.

If elected, what are your plans to keep the circuit clerk’s office moving forward?

Once I am re-elected, I will continue to lead and maintain the excellent service provided by my staff. The Circuit Clerk office is fast paced, and has a lot of moving parts. With 38 employees, we provide clerical assistance to 10 judges in nine courtrooms, when at full capacity, by attending court sessions, filing/processing thousands of documents each month, and protecting the official court records. Many courts have 75-100 cases every day. Continue to maintain financial records for all cases. In FY19 disbursed over $4,637,900 to county departments, law enforcement agencies/municipalities, and other funds created by legislation. Maintain strong relationship with Criminal Justice Division departments/other county offices, who depend on accuracy of court records. Continue to cultivate a good, solid working relationship with AFSCME 1874. We’ve collaborated through this pandemic, which makes us stronger, together. Prepare for the upcoming 2022 Recordkeeping manual mandate, restructuring how records are filed and maintained.

What changes could or should be made?

Continued progress for the computerization of the office and courts is paramount. It is a process that doesn’t always move forward in the timeline I desire, but we do our best. We are working towards a complete electronic record, which has to be certified by the Administrative Office of Illinois Courts. Through my experience, I’ve learned computer development is always changing. Whether through natural updates to the case management software, through unfunded mandates bestowed upon us through the Illinois Supreme Court/Administrative Office of Illinois Courts, or through legislation passed, which changes laws and how they are recorded in the case management system.

Should the current online court filing system be updated?

Similar to my response in the question above, yes — absolutely, the current court e-filing system should be updated. Civil e-filing integration is currently in production and being tested. As technology advances, notification systems are and will be changing as well. Case management systems are very complex, and changes are made regularly. Money is also a factor in how we progress. The county board and other elected officials and department heads have done a great job with bringing our county back around, as we’ve been through a tumultuous roller coaster ride. While we would like to have the latest and greatest technology, we are working within our means. Fiscal responsibility is first and foremost, which I hope the taxpayers appreciate.

Dondi Maricle, Democrat

Occupation: Realtor at Speckman Realty for 22 years

Education: Attended Illinois Central College, Licensed Realtor

Relevant experience: Independent contractor (Realtor 22 years) President of Hippocrates Medical Clinic , Past President of KIFAR, served on several committees for KIFAR, Serve on Committees on for Illinois Realtors, Sec of Community Arts Council, Past President of Woman’s Club, instrumental in Governor’s Project. Bradley Lions Club Visions Chair and Candy Day Chair. Served on Senator Durbin’s Selection Service Academy Committee selecting candidates to attend WestPoint.

If elected, what are your plans to keep the circuit clerk’s office moving forward? What changes could or should be made?

First priority would be Public Service. The office exists to ensure that when the public needs access to the courts, they receive it with a helping hand and a smile. Provide an online library of fillable forms for the public to access along with audio and visual guides to assist those who have disabilities. Provide public education regarding the court system. Public Safety by beginning transitioning from Court View to a system that speaks with all law enforcement. All police departments in the county and States Attorney’s office have the New World System. A gap in communication (from only the Circuit Clerks Office) hurts law enforcement and their ability to access case information when it’s needed most. Warrants are not processed properly and timely, as a result, dangerous individuals are not being arrested and people who shouldn’t have warrants are being arrested for the same reason. Clerks should continually review the laws, technology, policies and procedures.

Should the current online court filing system be updated?

Currently the Circuit Clerk is far behind schedule and in violation of the Supreme Court’s Order to implement e-filing. We need to get this implemented, comply with the law and teach the public so they can access justice even if they can’t afford a lawyer.

Nicole Scott, Libertarian

Age: 42

Occupation: Office manager and freelance business consultant

Education: I attended KCC after my divorce, earning a 4.0 GPA in all my business classes, graduating in 2014. I also earned certificates in Business Microcomputer Applications and Office Assistant.

Relevant experience: I started helping in the office of my parents businesses in second grade. I have experience with old and new computer programs, along with website design. I have organized several local offices, correctly accounting for every dime on the books. I’ve created easy to navigate physical and online filing systems.

If elected, what are your plans to keep the circuit clerk’s office moving forward?

I plan to get the office in compliance with the 2018 computerization mandate as quickly as possible. We have been wasting time and resources picking up people on quashed warrants because they did not have the most current information. I also would like to update to a more user-friendly website design and add links to simple how-to explanations on small claims, court supervision, expungement, and wills and probate. I will also save the taxpayers’ money by working with the hourly employees whenever they are working overtime to help minimize the amount of overtime pay we are spending.

What changes could or should be made?

There needs to be a manager that leads the people by example, by working with them whenever and wherever is needed. Employees are feeling overworked while the current circuit clerk leaves early. This has caused several long term employees to quit & needs to be addressed before we lose anymore long term employees. The office also has had major issues with new procedures taught at conventions but not being taught to the office staff. I believe that other department heads should go to conventions relevant to their departments and there should be a debriefing meeting with the office after the conventions to ensure everyone is on the same page with any new procedures.

Should the current online court filing system be updated?

The online filing system should be able to have all documents imaged in and immediately available to all who use the system. It needs to be as user-friendly as possibly and most importantly we need a system that the circuit clerk and office can easily navigate.

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