Dorothy Brown Responds: #enoughisenough; #nomore; #itsabouttime.
I’ve decided that I must respond to the many insults the Chicago Tribune directed at my legacy and, most of all, at the hardworking Clerk’s Office staff the December 21, 2017 editorial, “Dorothy Brown’s 17 years of broken promises.”
I usually do not answer editorials and have “suffered in silence,” in fear of the newspaper’s retaliation against me. I am neither pulling the race card nor the gender card, but the Clerk’s Office and I have received disparate treatment in the pages of the Chicago Tribune. Therefore, I decided after reading the unwarranted attacks in this latest editorial that #enoughisenough, #nomore, #itsabouttime. For instance, it’s laughable that the editorial in its effort “to be fair” barely mentioned DuPage County’s request for a three-year eFiling extension to integrate its “long modernized system,” while the Tribune lambasted me and my office for requesting only a one-year extension. I fail to see the “fairness” in this type of reporting. But, then again, my counterpart, the Clerk of the Court in DuPage, is a white male.
Although the editorial is headlined “…17 years of broken promises,” the article only discusses and misrepresents one issue: the Clerk and the Chief Judge’s offices petition for a one-year extension for Mandatory eFiling. If the reporter on whose articles the editorial was based and the Editorial Board actually read the petition then there is no reasonable explanation for the editorial’s onslaught of insulting statements.
I challenge the Tribune reporter to do thorough research and report objectively on the technological innovations made in the Clerk’s Office under my administration. A review of my documented, administrative pledges shows that out of 35 promised technological projects, 33 have been successfully completed to date with the remaining two (2) found not applicable to the Clerk’s Office. (See attachment). Simple research would have found that the Clerk’s Office has had a state-of-the-art eFiling system since 2009.
Not content to merely malign me, the editorial insulted the employees by referring to the Clerk’s Office as being “patronage-packed.” Many of our employees hold associates, bachelors, masters, juris doctorates and even doctorate degrees and are not affiliated with any political organization; and collectively, our employees have been provided more than 100,000 training hours during my administration.
With its penchant for wanting to portray the office as out-of-date, the Chicago Tribune refuses to report that the Clerk’s Office converts every filed document into an electronic image. In fact, using our own talented technology staff my office implemented an Electronic Appeals (eAppeals) system on July 1, 2017, on time and in accordance with the Illinois Supreme Court mandate that all appeals be eFiled. In addition, we implemented a new Cashiering and Security System, an ePlead System for traffic tickets, a Turbo Court Order of Protection System, a Mobile App that integrates with the case management system from mobile devices, a Mortgage Foreclosure Surplus search function, an Unclaimed Child Support search function; and many system upgrades to the civil, traffic and criminal systems over the years.
For the editorial to include an offensive remark made by Commissioner Larry Suffredin about his not trusting the Clerk’s Office staff is quite confusing since he did not offer evidence of any technology project in the Clerk’s Office that has not been implemented properly. In like manner, the editorial writer provides no evidence to support the insulting statement that the Clerk’s Office has a “well-earned reputation as a fortress of inefficiency.”
The insults in the Chicago Tribune’s editorial and the related articles, are the last insults and falsehoods about the Clerk’s Office’s hardworking staff and myself, for which I will suffer in silence: #enoughisenough, #nomore, and #itsabouttime.
My office is very accountable. We have not been dithering or wasting taxpayers’ dollars. I challenge the reporter, who wrote the articles upon which this editorial was based, to visit the Clerk’s Office for a briefing and demonstration of the technological advancements and other improvements made during my very productive 17 years in office.
Hon. Dorothy Brown
Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County