Courts Clerk Forman Cries Poor Mouth


Expect more lines and less service at the courthouse.

Clerk of the Courts Howard Forman says his office is so financially crippled that he cannot complete his job of moving towards a wireless courthouse.

Forman says he has cut his staff from 960 to 750 employees after his budget was reduced 17 percent.  He is requiring employees to take one day off a month without pay.

Yet, the work load has continued to climb.

Broward County had 51,671 foreclosure cases alone last year.

“Foreclosures are still on the rise, he wrote in a letter to the Legislative Delegation.  “Red light legislation has begun to increase the number of tickets received.newly mandated Indigency Asset Verification has required additional staffing.  Redaction of confidential information contained in court documents and files will have not only a huge financial cost associated with it, but also staffing to meeting the requirement of safeguarding confidentiality required by the Legislature to begin FY 2012-13.

Forman warns that “timeliness standards will continue to be unmet especially in Family, Civil and Felony divisions.

He needs 15 new employees in felony and another six in juvenile court to head off serious backlogs, Forman wrote.

“The facts are that this office cannot continue down this financially-strapped path, Forman adds.

There has been some good news, he said.

Probate court now has electronic filing.  Jurors can now request postponement of service online, eliminating needless paperwork and wasted visits to the courthouse.

Forman, a former state senator, has his work cut out for him.

The Legislature and the governor is in sync about one thing: Cutting the cost of government.

So Forman has very little chance of getting much more money from them…if any.

Forman suggested increased user fees.  If the Legislature buys his idea, anticipate the cost of everything from getting married to filing a law suit or getting a copy of your divorce to climb.

Lawyers won’t worry.  They just pass the cost on to their clientsyou and me.

There is a lesson in this letter from Forman.  Cutting government costs has real consequences for citizens.

15 Responses to “Courts Clerk Forman Cries Poor Mouth”

  1. Mr. Courthouse says:

    Forman is no administrator. A professional needs to run the clerks office.

  2. Broward Attorney says:

    If we didn’t elect a political hack like Forman, maybe the clerk could get files to court on time. I gave up counting how many times the files were not in court when the case was called for a hearing, etc.

  3. hey howard says:

    Maybe Howard should have used the money have gave as bonuses to his clerks a few years back towards improving the office. I believe for 2 or 3 years straight in the mid 2000s Forman gave tens of thousands in bouses justifying it by saying he wold have had to give it back to the State if he didnt use it.

  4. Running with Scissors says:

    It’s widely known around the State that Broward has the worst run Clerk’s Office. I defy you to look at ten court files without finding misfiled documents in at least seven of them, if the files can be found, at all. The office is in worse shape than it was fifteen years ago and Howard has spent a boatload of money on mis-matched, obsolete technology. He rehired his technology chief after he sat out a year at the end of DROP. Can we say, “Double Dipper?” If he didn’t bring anything new to the table in the last 30 years, why bring him back?Perhaps if the old, corrupt Demo machine is finally dismanted, a professional administrator/lawyer/technologist will run for the position. Better yet, make it an appointive office.

  5. Running with Scissors says:

    P.S. It is a travesty for Howard to take ANY credit for electronic filing in Probate. If not for Judge Grossman, who has worked tirelessly for nearly ten years on electronic filing, Probate would be the same shambles as the rest of the Clerk’s Office. Judge Grossman rocks!

  6. watcher says:

    what do you mean lawyers dont care about costs?? some civil trial lawyers make less on a foreclosure than the court cost (about 2k for a case over $250000)…….that said..there are lots of streamlining that could save a bundle but Forman has never been a listener….finally the individual clerks do seem to work hard but are clearly overwhelmed.

    FROM BUDDY: You make some good points, especially about the clerks that work hard but are overwhelmed. They probably get a modest salary, too.

  7. incestual says:

    The in court clerks work hard but are clearly overwhelmed. It is the worst run office with cronies and their relatives as the top salary employees. I heard there are stacks and stacks and stacks of pleadings and files just laying around everywhere.
    I wish PULP would look into this or you Buddy.

  8. He Just Don't Get It says:

    The technology in that office is so outdated they’re forced to employ hundreds of low skill workers at huge cost that should not be needed. He should stop his complaining and leverage the immediate purchase of a cost cutting technology program. Pay for it with savings from lay offs. Except doing that would put him at odds with his sweetheart friends over at the AFL/CIO. So instead, he ask us for more money because that’s how liberals solve problems. More taxation is the solution to their every problem.

  9. disenchanted says:

    a nice guy but time for him to go, this should never be an elective office.

  10. browardresident says:

    Howard Forman has does an excellent job in the Clerk’s Office. Unlike several of the local elected officials, he is trustworthy and honest. He has done nothing but good for this State and County since his began his career in politics. Advanced technology does not come cheap …..he is doing the best with what he has. These are hard times for EVERYONE and unfortunately some areas are going to suffer until we (state/county) get back on our feet.

  11. Running with Scissors says:

    @BrowardResident – Go look at what Forman has spent on technology over his tenure. It’s public record through the Broward County Budget Office. NASA has sent people to space on less than Howard has spent! With that kind of investment, everything should be digitized and all systems integrated. Technology choices have been puzzling, to say the least. Outdated, non-integrated systems and vendors that other major jurisdictions have rejected are the norm and projects never get finished. I don’t buy the “to benefit the unions” explanation. Cui bono?

  12. Courthouse Watcher says:

    The next thing Forman will be pulling out a copy of the Pledge of Allegiance and reading it at ever event like Lockwood did.
    Lockwood was a disaster and Forman is a disappointment He has done nothing to advance the technology at the courthouse and he has had years. We need a professional manager over there, not a politician.

  13. citizen who cares says:

    I recently retired and worked in a law office. I do not understand why palm beach county has an efficient clerk’s office and recently opened up a satellite office again. Broward is known for being antiquated. Why don’t you check out why palm beach scans every pleading as attorneys do not staple the pleadings and the judges and clerk can pull up the pleading right from their computer. and to say that “cutting government costs taxpayers” is funny, we pay for it anyway if the government pays. Where do you think the government gets its income. Forman needs to seriously consider revamping his office immediately or leaving office.

  14. Diane West says:

    Howard Forman complains about foreclosures and how poor his dept. is but he closed Palma Nova mobile home park and over 3,000 people were left homeless. He had the land rezoned to what he wanted it to be. All these poeople had to find new homes and he will began to rent new apts. out for propably 5 times the amount he was charging for lot rent. If he can’t do his job he can always resign.


    Howard Forman had nothing to do with the mobile home park. That’s a different Forman.

  15. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    Diane West, is an American actor best known for his lead role in the Batman TV series on the ABC TV network and the 1966 Batman feature film.

    Oh, that’s a different West.