GOP circuit clerk candidates in Lake County eye online upgrades
Name: Gerald Dietz
Hometown: Round Lake
Updated: April 2, 2012 8:04AM
Lake County is the third-largest county in the state, yet it is impossible to look up information about court cases online. Both Republican candidates for Lake County circuit court clerk would like to change that.
Keith Brin of Highland Park has been deputy chief in Circuit Clerk’s Office for about three years. Gerald Dietz of Round Lake is an attorney practicing municipal law.
“I am about change. I would like to change, update and modernize the clerk’s office. I think I am the person that can do that,” Dietz said.
Brin said that improving technology in the clerk’s office has been the No. 1 goal since he became chief deputy. He also said the clerk’s office has a system and is waiting for the Illinois Supreme Court to approve it. Once it’s approved, the clerk’s office can move forward with an electronic system, he said.
“To me, the technology is a great way to improve efficiency and reduce costs to the taxpayers,” Brin said.
He said he has had a hand in modernizing the way the clerk’s office handles fines and fees that has drawn attention from the state.
‘Long time coming’
Court fines and fees in criminal and traffic cases are “voluminous” and complicated, Brin said. In the past, judges would levy fines and a clerk would generate the numbers. The Illinois Supreme Court said it is up to the judges to assess these numbers and not the clerk’s computer system. Now, a computer generates a form that judges use to assess the fees.
“(This) was heralded as a solution that is a long time coming,” Brin said.
Dietz wants to implement an electronic filing system. Currently, any paperwork for a case must be filed in person at the clerk’s office in the Lake County Building in downtown Waukegan.
“It’s painstaking, costly for clerk’s office and costly for residents and users to get copies,” Dietz said.
Dietz, a father of two, served as a volunteer firefighter/paramedic with the Greater Round Lake Fire Protection District for about 15 years. He graduated from law school in 1999.
“My top priority is bringing transparency and accountability to the office,” Dietz said.
Brin said his other goal is to maintain “the fiscal discipline and accountability” for the clerk’s office. He practiced business law in Chicago for six years. He took on management roles with several businesses before working for in the Circuit Clerk’s Office.
“I’ve got a vision for the office and I’ve got the experience to move the office forward. They’re (taxpayers) are not paying for someone to learn the job. They’re paying for someone to pick up the ball and continue rolling with it,” Brin said.