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Political unknowns: Clerk of the court, property appraiser

caines | 7/26/2012, 5:30 a.m.

Two jobs that greatly impact citizens lives

Despite the growing popularity of some elected public officials, in the world of politics there still remain many mysteries. That is, positions that bring with them little fanfare but still impact our lives in more ways than we can imagine. Two such positions, both of which will be decided in the August 14th primary election, are the clerk of the court in Miami-Dade County and the County property appraiser. The office is very unusual there is no other one in the U.S. that has the same functions that we have, said Harvey Ruvin, the longtime clerk of the court. Unlike most offices, the clerk in Miami-Dade is responsible for a number of operations that effect Miami residents. The Clerks office maintains and operates the marriage license bureau. In addition, the holder of the office is the ex-officio clerk for the Board of County Commissioners, county auditor, custodian of county funds and custodian of all records filed with the court. The office has a total of 1,300 employees who are collectively responsible for maintaining confidential Miami resident records. Ruvin has made it his goal to take Miamis record keeping to the next level. My goal is to make information more accessible online so people dont have to stand in long lines, he said.

Property appraiser sees the ups and downs

Pedro Garcia, the Countys current property appraiser [his opponent in August is Carlos Lopez-Cantera] says that while the job is less than glamourous, there is quite a lot to do and what he does matters. We determine the value of about one million properties in Miami, Garcia said. It is very important to be fair and to be a servant. You must be a complete public servant with heart above all else. Garcia has been the property appraiser for almost four years and oversees 371 employees and a $30 million budget. The office is responsible for maintaining records for tax purposes and granting exemptions. By Julia Samuelsjsamuels@miamitimesonline.com