'Chips' Shore serves with distinction as Manatee clerk, merits new term

October 11, 2012 

Even after some 35 years as Manatee County's clerk of the circuit court and comptroller, R.B. "Chips" Shore maintains his passion for public service. The 71-year-old Bradenton native also continues to be at the forefront of technological advances.

Up for re-election on the November ballot, Shore faces a write-in candidate, Annamarie D. Riethmiller.

Shore's latest achievement is the creation of a state-of-the-art court document e-filing system that has become a national model. Shore and others will make presentations on this breakthrough software system, now known as the "Manatee Model," at a national conference in December.

This represents the continuation of Shore's commitment to increasing government efficiency through technology. He was named Florida's Clerk of the Year in 2001-2002 for his outstanding contribution and vision in technological advances for clerks.

In addition, the Florida Supreme Court authorized the Manatee clerk's office to allow the public to have electronic access to court records, indexes and dockets as well as non-confidential court document images -- the only county granted permission to provide such online access.

"I will continue bringing public records to the public in an easily accessible way," he pledges.

That commitment to open government is commendable.

Manatee is also certified to accept e-filings in all court divisions, a distinction only one other Florida county holds.

Shore notes that his office is completely electronic, but faces the challenge of convincing judges to access documents while on the bench and getting attorney's to e-file documents.

With another term in office, he plans to upgrade aging financial and court managements systems, with both well over a decade old.

This office holds a variety of other responsibilities. Its Historical Resources Department promotes the preservation and protection of Manatee County's past, working with historical organizations and government agencies in the operation of two historical villages, two museums and a historical archives.

Shore was named the 2008 National Award of Merit winner by the American Association of State and Local History for his contributions to historic preservation and heritage education in Manatee County.

As comptroller, Shore serves as the auditor and custodian of all county funds, protecting the public's interest. The office also invests and earns revenues on those funds to offset the tax burden on Manatee County's taxpayers. Under his stewardship, Manatee holds the highest bond rating in the state.

Shore's outstanding leadership and vision provide Manatee County with unparalleled service in both the financial and court arenas. The Herald's Editorial Board applauds R.B. "Chips" Shore for his many accomplishments and recommends voters return him to office.

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