CLEARFIELD – Prothonotary/Clerk of Courts Brian Spencer has written a letter to Jail Warden Greg Collins amid recent accusations by both Clearfield County judges that the clerk’s office is being mismanaged and causing a backlog in criminal paperwork.
Spencer’s letter was dated July 13, 2017 and released to local media for publication due to the “amount of news” coming from his office and the jail regarding “inmates and timely filing of documents.”
Spencer’s complete letter is posted below.
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“As I am sure you are aware, it has come to my attention through the local media that you believe that the inefficiencies in your office are due to a delay in receiving paperwork from my office.
“While I would have certainly appreciated and found it much more practical had you contacted me directly with your concerns, I am happy nevertheless to work with you in an attempt to identify and resolve any issues that you perceive as causing your workplace to perform inadequately.
“As you have not contacted either me or my staff to address any issues or problems you perceive, I am left to attempt to discern the problem through others who are somewhat familiar with your issues.
“In speaking with these others, it appears that you are concerned particularly with prisoners sentenced to state prisons terms who are not being quickly enough transported from your facility to the correct state institution. As I understand it, this is causing an overcrowding issue, as well as extra expenses to the taxpayers of the county.
“A review of my records indicates that the state sentencing orders you need are being processed out of my office in a very timely manner, and in fact faster than we have ever done so before.
“About two years ago, Judge Ammerman came down the hall to my office with an issue.
“At that time, the judge explained to us that you were having an issue with getting your prisoners moved in a timely manner. He told us that the issue was not due to any problem within the Clerk of Courts Office, but that we could help alleviate the issue by prioritizing all state sentence orders and getting them out as soon as possible, which we have accomplished.
“Although this is my first term as the Clearfield County Prothonotary and Clerk of Courts, the clerk who is responsible for processing the state sentencing orders is the very same clerk that has been doing them for the past 25 years, and according to the clerk, she is processing them today faster than ever before.
“Since the first mention of this paperwork backlog issue during an earlier prison board meeting, the office has been keeping a special record of each and every state sentence in order to ensure timely processing; our records indicate that all have been done promptly.
“I am asking you, as the warden of the jail and the one originally lodging the complaint, to work with me in order that I may investigate this further and attempt to uncover exactly where any hold up may be occurring and how my office may be able to work to help your office function more efficiently.
“Should we find, as our records indicate, that the timely processing of state sentencing orders by my office is not the issue, we will attempt to help you discover what the bottleneck may be.
“Please help us by providing specific examples of late processed orders or other papers that you feel may be responsible for the shortcomings at the jail. Please include inmates’ names, docket numbers and relative dates that we may quickly investigate this issue.”
Thank you for your time,
Brian K. Spencer
Prothonotary & Clerk of Courts
Clearfield County Government
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On Wednesday a letter regarding the criminal paperwork backlog was e-mailed to GANT News by a court employee. It was signed by both President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman and Judge Paul E. Cherry.
According to the letter, Collins had again voiced his concerns about the many problems caused by the delay in receiving the sentences, parole orders and other necessary paperwork in criminal cases.
“Without the necessary documents, prisoners are not timely paroled, transfer of prisoners to state prison is delayed and taxpayers’ money is wasted on jail overcrowding and housing of our prisoners in other counties,” the letter stated.
Spencer has been asked to provide a written plan to the court as to how he proposes to fix the problems and eliminate the backlog. However, the judges stated in the letter that he hasn’t done so.
Spencer has been advised by the court that since he will not provide his input about the problems in his office, the court will issue administrative orders setting schedules and deadlines on necessary criminal paperwork.
Click here to read prior coverage: Judges Accuse Prothonotary of Mismanaging Office, Causing Paperwork Backlog; Spencer Calls it a “Political Attack.”