The county programs that receive a Challenge Award have to demonstrate creativity and be programs that are replicable. In the case of Orange County, both the District Attorney’s Office and the Clerk Recorder’s Office used partnerships and collaboration as keys to their success.
This played an integral role in the District Attorney’s Trial Attorney Partnership program being honored with the prestigious California Counties Innovation Award and the Clerk Recorder’s SECURE electronic document program receiving a Challenge Award.
If you’ve ever purchased or sold property, you know that a mountain of paperwork and a sore signature hand are part of the process. But once you’ve signed your name, that pile of paper has to be recorded within the county where the property is located. Thousands of property documents flow into the Orange County Clerks Recorder Office daily. Before electronic recording, it took several days for documents to be recorded and real estate transactions to be finalized. Now, it’s only a matter of hours. What makes SECURE even more valuable is that several counties across the state are now using the system and this collaboration has reduced operating costs.
Trial Attorney Partnership
Crime never sleeps, and each arrest of an alleged criminal triggers a myriad of county responsibilities to see that justice is served; a large portion of those responsibilities fall to the District Attorney. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office, faced with a shrinking budget and staff and an increase in both misdemeanor and felony cases, decided to ramp up their volunteer Trial Attorney Partnership program. Over the course of eight weeks, private sector attorneys’ partner with the DA’s Office, where they are trained as Deputy District Attorney’s before spending at least a month prosecuting cases. For most of the participants, it’s an opportunity to hone trial skills they rarely get to use in civil law. For the District Attorney’s Office, it’s a way to keep the wheels of justice moving and foster a mutually beneficial partnership with private law firms.
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County Government works, which is why Californians prefer to have programs and services managed and operated at the local level. The county programs featured by CSAC during County Government Month are 2010 CSAC Challenge Award recipients. These awards recognize the innovative and creative spirit of California county governments as they find new and effective ways of providing programs and services to their citizens. The Call for Entries for the 2011 CSAC Challenge Awards is being distributed this month.
Erin Treadwell is CSAC’s Communication Coordinator. She can be reached at etreadwell(at)counties.org.