The initiative is another example of Montgomery County Clerk of Courts Mike Foley’s plan to bring the courthouse to the community, and help residents better understand the programs and services available.
Dayton – What exactly does the Clerk of Courts office do? That is a common question asked in communities across the country. To effectively inform the Miami Valley of the programs and services offered by the office, and to expand the lines of communication with residents, Montgomery County Clerk of Courts Mike Foley has introduced a Help Center that is the first of its kind in the area.
Located in the lobby of the Legal Division at the Clerk of Courts office in downtown Dayton, the Help Center is always staffed by at least two team members and is designed to help residents navigate the complex court system.
At the Help Center, residents can get answers to questions related to interactions with the court system, receive assistance with filling out forms, and ensure that filings are made in the appropriate manner, and access and/or referrals to legal service providers among other details. The Help Center does not provide legal advice, represent defendants in court or offer information about specific cases.
“The Clerk of Courts should not stay in his office,” Foley said. “We have a duty to help our constituents where they are. We’re bringing the courthouse to the community, and making sure that our office is uniquely accessible.”
“The Help Center is a tremendous undertaking. It’s something that has never been done in Dayton or Montgomery County,” Foley added. “We are committed to providing the highest form of customer service, and this is a prime example.”
Community outreach is a vital component of the plan Foley outlined when he was elected last November and started his role in January. The Clerk of Courts office deploys staff members into the community to inform residents about outreach programs and services. Foley’s team has a presence in locations like the Foodbank and in lobbies of public housing neighborhoods. Services like driver’s license reinstatement programs and expungement programs represent a sampling of how the Clerk of Courts office positively impacts the region.
In Montgomery County, the Clerk of Courts is the official record-keeper and agent for the court system. The organization serves the Common Pleas Court; Domestic Relations Court; and the Second District Court of Appeals as well as the Auto Title Division. The Municipal Court Division serves as the municipal court for various cities, townships and villages throughout the county. The Municipal Court Division maintains two courthouses, one in New Lebanon (Western Division) and one in Huber Heights (Eastern Division).
The Clerk of Courts office performs tasks that range from receiving, indexing, certifying and preserving legal documents filed with the courts; serving court papers and furnishing case schedules and notices of hearings to issuing summonses, subpoenas and warrants; managing deposits of money for court-related costs and issuing auto and other vehicle titles and passports.
“Change is meaningful when it has a positive impact on residents in every part of Montgomery County,” Foley said. “We are striving make sure as many citizens as possible know what the Clerk of Courts office does, and to demonstrate that we are accessible and helpful.”
Creating awareness about what the Clerk of Courts office does, and reaching out to neighborhoods across Montgomery County, improves the lives of residents and the vitality of the region, Foley believes.
“Successful results from programs like the driver’s license reinstatement program and the expungement program, for example, help people and also drive economic development by getting more people back to work,” Foley said. “Transportation issues and criminal records are serious barriers to employment. With the resources at the Help Center, and the multiple community partners we have teamed with, we are spreading the word about programs and services that can help our citizens.”