Ohio’s Franklin County Clerk of Courts builds model approach to fiscal, operations management

Franklin County Clerk of Courts Maryellen O’Shaughnessy and her more than 215 deputies and professional office staff have taken public stewardship to a whole new level. Their approach to achieving superior fiscal and operations management that consistently delivers unmatched returns to the greater Central Ohio region is the envy of peers nationwide.

O’Shaughnessy has built a streamlined, technically sophisticated operation backed by common sense, integrity and some partnership from Huntington Bank’s Government Banking and Treasury Management colleagues.

Effectively managing a $14 million budget for the largest office of its kind in Ohio, with audits confirming 99.9 percent accuracy, has afforded O’Shaughnessy the opportunity to designate more than $7.1 million from the Auto Title Division fund to Franklin County’s general fund.

O’Shaughnessy and her team have built an impressive infrastructure supporting curation of a vast electronic records system for court documents and cash management activities undertaken by 10 offices countywide, none of which is more prolific than the financially robust Auto Title Division.

Driving efficiency

Comprising four offices, the Auto Title Division receives an average of $850,000 in cash per month from consumers and businesses paying automobile taxes and title fees and, over the last five years, has accounted for $860 million of the $1 billion in funds collected by the clerk’s office.

Given that the Auto Title Division by its nature is most vulnerable to financial loss, O’Shaughnessy — with the help of Shawn Rieder, her organization’s director of office fiscal services, Cash Manager Edward Baumann and Huntington Bank — implemented a series of technologies automating virtually every aspect of cash management, saving valuable time and money.

With Huntington’s help, Rieder and Baumann implemented electronic funds transfer. The organization now easily debits more than 100 auto dealers’ accounts and simply credits back any overages, skirting the refund check process altogether.

And in light of the significant number of consumer checks still being received, O’Shaughnessy installed check scanners to conveniently digitize and instantly deposit large volumes of checks right from the office on a daily basis. In the event of a bounced check, the check image is easily queried based on dollar amount and, with the help of ID and phone numbers captured on all checks, customers are more immediately contacted and higher collection rates achieved.

Additionally, Rieder and Baumann worked with Huntington to install smart safes to consolidate and simplify their overall banking structure. The smart safes secure cash onsite at different title offices, while enabling access to those funds, collectively, from the organization’s bank account before they’re physically deposited in the bank. The cash is automatically counted and audited when entering the safe, increasing efficiency and helping to eliminate discrepancies, reduce theft.

 As a result of this transformation, Baumann and his office know exactly where everything is with complete confidence at all times. With greater peace of mind, the goal now more than ever is to make every transaction right with a focus on people, not cashier balance.

This column is brought to you by The Huntington National Bank, Member FDIC. Cheryl Schultz is Vice President at Huntington Bank. Reach her at Cheryl Schultz [email protected] or (614)-480-4368.