Description of Office Continued
The office of County Clerk has been in existence in Texas since 1836, superseding the "escribano" (secretary) of Spanish-Mexican rule. The Texas Constitution, Section 20, Article 5, provides:
Sec. 20. There shall be elected for each county, by qualified voters, a County Clerk, who shall hold his office for four years, who shall be clerk of the County and Commissioners Courts and recorder of the county, whose duties, prerequisites and fees of office shall be prescribed by Legislature, and a vacancy in whose office shall be filled by the Commissioners Court, until the next general election; provided, that in counties having a population of less than 8,000 persons there may be an election of a single clerk, who shall perform the duties of District and County Clerks.
The County Clerk is elected in the same year that voters elect the Governor of the State.
Continuing EducationThe County Clerk must annually complete 20 hours of continuing education courses, including three (3) hours of courses regarding Registry Funds and one (1) hour in courses regarding fraudulent Court Documents and fraudulent document filings.
Of all the various responsibilities assigned to the County Clerk, the recording of legal instruments is perhaps the most traditional and basic of duties. In terms of sheer volume, legal instruments constitute the major portion of paperwork flowing through the office, require the greatest amount of storage space, and usually take up a larger portion of the clerk's time than any other single duty. These legal instruments will be concerning:
- ownership or interest in real or personal property.
- the identity of commercial activities,
- the identity of persons.
- Commissioners Court
The County Clerk is the clerk of the Commissioners Court and serves the court during each of its meetings. The Clerk posts notices of the agenda and attends all of the meetings as ex-officio clerk. The Clerk also takes minutes of all actions, records, and indexes the minutes of those meetings.
The County Clerk also conducts countywide special and general elections, handles Early Voting (formerly known as Absentee Voting), and generally acts as the Elections Administrator for the County.
- Vital Statistics
The County Clerk's responsibilities in the area of vital statistics is the issuing of marriage licenses and the recording of birth and death certificates. The County Clerk in Nueces County is the local registrar for all births and death occurring outside the city limits but within the county's boundaries. The original certificates are recorded by the Bureau of Vital Statistics of the Texas Department of Health in Austin. Through modem technology, the Nueces County Clerk can access all birth records of any person born in Texas through the Vital Statistics of the Texas Department of Health in Austin. A birth record is public information and will be available to the public on and after the 75th anniversary. A death record is public information and will be available to the public on and after the 25th anniversary.
The office of Nueces County Treasurer was abolished on January 1, 1988. The duties of the County Treasurer along with the responsibilities and power were transferred to the Nueces County Clerk. The County Clerk as Chief Custodian of county funds, keeps all funds belonging to the county in designated depositories and accounts, and keeps detailed accounts of all receipts and expenditures of the county. Money received is separated into different fund accounts. A monthly treasurer's report is submitted to Commissioners Court detailing of all funds received and disbursed.
- Fine Collections
The Nueces County Clerk's Office has created an in-house fine collection department responsible for the collection of all fines and court costs in all felony and misdemeanor cases. The primary duties of the department are to maintain all fine collection records, assess payment agreement schedules, track payment process and notify defendants of delinquent in their payment account.
- Assumed Names
The County Clerk is responsible for filing and indexing assumed names certificated of persons doing business under an individual, company, or corporation name.
The County Clerk also files various documents, such as:
- Hospital Liens
- Cattle Brands
- Various Bonds
- Military Discharges
- Optometry Records
- Mental Health Records
- Foreclosure Notices