Court clerk projects surplus

July 19, 1992

The clerk's office for the Anne Arundel Circuit Court is projecting a budget surplus of more than $500,000 for the fiscal year completed June 30, the second year in a row it has had money left over.

Circuit Court Clerk Mary McNally Rose said yesterday that her office estimates it will have $539,490 left over from the $3.56 million it was allocated by the General Assembly.

When she assumed office midway through the 1991 fiscal year, she inherited a projected $200,000 deficit, but the year ended with a $24,000 surplus. She said her predecessor, H. Erle Schafer, had too many expenses and employees, and was counting on a budget supplement to cover them that never came.

Mrs. Rose cut that budget by freezing hiring and firing three employees. She also ended a rental contract for the court's computer system and bought one instead.

Mrs. Rose attributed savings in this year's budget to a hiring freeze and across-the-board cuts in every department. She estimates she saved about $200,000 by not filling vacant positions.

4 "The rest of it was just being cheap," she said.

In addition to the savings, the clerk's office is handling paperwork more efficiently, she said. When she assumed office, nearly every department had backlogs. Now, with the exception of seasonal rush periods, delays have been reduced from several weeks to just a few days.

She attributes the increased productivity to suggestions from the employees themselves. When she took office, she surveyed workers in each of her departments.

"I started at the bottom: 'How can I make your life easier?' And many of the ideas were theirs," she said.

She receives a weekly report on paperwork backlogs so that she can monitor the efficiency of employees. For the past three months, she said, there have been no backlogs in any department.

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