Clerk of courts

Clerk of Courts Paula O'Neil, a Republican who was elected in 2008, faces her first re-election challenge from political newcomer Roberta Cutting, who is not affiliated with a political party. Cutting briefly served as a volunteer in the clerk's office during O'Neil's tenure. Lisa Buie, Times staff writer

Paula O'Neil, 56

Pasco County clerk of courts

Roberta Cutting, 53

Former day care owner

RepublicanPartyNo party affiliation
O'Neil started her career as a county parks manager in 1987. She moved to community services in 1993 and joined the clerk's office in 2002 as chief deputy clerk. She was elected clerk in 2008. She has served on numerous local boards and was named the Tampa Bay Business Journal's 2010 Business Woman of the Year for Government.Experience Cutting owned and operated a day care from 1988 to 1994. She has held a real estate license, been a student at Pasco-Hernando Community College, and founded a nonprofit group called Citizens Against Legal and Moral Abuse.
Bachelor's degree from Missouri State University; master's degree from National Louis University; doctorate in applied management and decision sciences from Walden UniversityEducationAssociate's degrees in office systems technology and paralegal studies from Pasco-Hernando Community College
O'Neil says that under her leadership, the office has made great strides in going paperless, and she would like the opportunity to continue. She also has developed a system that provides interpreters to non-English speakers who come to the clerk's office to pay tickets or file paperwork or conduct other business. O'Neil also personally greets jurors the first day they report for duty and serves as clerk for all County Commission meetings. She says her employees, who have not had raises in five years, are frugal and pay for their own food if working late on a project.Why should voters choose you as clerk of courts?Cutting says she was inspired to run after she was terminated from an internship program at the clerk's office. She has accused O'Neil of "backstabbing" and wasting money on furniture and changing the clerk's seal. She says she can offer few specifics because the clerk is hiding records from her. O'Neil says she never received internship paperwork from Cutting but let her work as a volunteer. Employees described an incident a year earlier in which Cutting claimed to be an attorney of record to view a confidential file. They expressed concerns to O'Neil, who ended Cutting's volunteer status. Cutting denies that she claimed to be an attorney.
O'Neil wants to get more records online and put in place a new computer system that will modernize criminal court records. The current system has been in place since the 1980s.What are your goals if you are elected?Cutting says she would work for half the clerk's salary and make sure all records are open for public inspection. She says she will maintain "an open door" policy and will treat constituents with respect.
Savings, checking accounts, house, rental propertiesAssetsNone listed
Mortgages, loansLiabilitiesStudent loans
Salary as clerk of courts, rents from residential properties IncomeWork-study income from college
Divorced; two adult sonsPersonalMarried to James Cutting; two adult children
paulaforpascoclerk.com Website cuttingforpascoclerk.com
clerkpaula@gmail.comEmailcuttingforclerkofcourt@yahoo.com

About the job: The Pasco County clerk of courts is responsible for storing and recording county and circuit court paperwork and officially recorded documents such as property deeds, as well as keeping the minutes of County Commission meetings. The clerk serves a four-year term and oversees a $23 million budget with about 310 employees. The clerk is paid $137,796 a year, set by the state based on population.

Pasco County clerk of courts: Paula O'Neil (R), Roberta Cutting (no party affiliation)

Clerk of Courts Paula O'Neil, a Republican who was elected in 2008, faces her first re-election challenge from political newcomer Roberta Cutting, who is not affiliated with a political party. Cutting briefly served as a volunteer in the clerk's office during O'Neil's tenure.

Pasco County clerk of courts: Paula O'Neil (R), Roberta Cutting (no party affiliation) 10/17/12 [Last modified: Thursday, October 18, 2012 11:20am]

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