Election 2012: Kane County Circuit Clerk

By on March 16, 2012


Thomas M. Hartwell
Having served on the Kane County Board from 1996-2000, Tom Hartwell is familiar with Kane County Government. As a practicing attorney out of South Elgin for the past 19 years, “the court is my workplace,” he said.

This bodes well for him in his pursuit for a position responsible for the maintenance of all records of the county courts.

“The Circuit Clerk handles court files, manages over 100 employees and works with other elected officials,” Hartwell said. “My abilities, experience and motivations make me uniquely qualified.”

He said his priority would be to better organize the record-keeping system while spending less resources.

“When it comes to wasteful government spending, enough is enough. I will make tough decisions that will help solve the financial fix were in. Kane County can no longer afford the type of old-school leadership that has brought us to the brink,” he said.

He explained that the current Circuit Clerk’s Office is behind in the installation and implementation of an advanced computer system. He would save time, resources, and create opportunity to improve service by fully utilizing technology designed to efficiently and economically manage the court’s records.

“We live in an information age. Kane County court records need to be brought into the new millennium,” Hartwell said. “Advanced computer technology will free up the office’s employees to take on other additional responsibilities, creating an atmosphere organized around timely and cost-efficient customer service.“

He said that upgrading the office’s technological capabilities will allow the court to process cases faster while enabling people outside the court to access public information over the Internet more easily. In effect, this reduced the resources needed to perform the job while at the same time improving service to the public.

The focus on streamlining processes could translate to all areas of county government, he said.

“One ongoing challenge will be our ability to do more with less,” Hartwell said. “If we don’t work smart and if we don’t work together, the slow recovery of our economy will continue to strain the public sector. Maintaining a balanced budget without sacrificing important county services is something that needs to be addressed across the board, regardless of office, in the spirit of reciprocal collaboration.”

Catherine S. Hurlbut
Catherine Hurlbut did not respond to repeated attempts to obtain information for this article.

Karin M. Herwick
Karin Herwick definitely has the most direct experience of what it is like to work in the Kane County Circuit Clerk’s Office. She has worked in various capacities in the office for the past 20 years. Starting as a team supervisor, she continued to take on more responsibility until she became the office’s Chief Operating Officer for the past seven years, including her secondary role as Chief Deputy Circuit Clerk.

“I have been motivated to seek the position of Circuit Clerk because I find public service both rewarding and challenging,” Herwick said. “I would like to continue to be a public servant as your next Circuit Clerk.”

Because of her extensive experience inside the office, she said she would be able to hit the ground running in pursuing her priorities.

Her first area of focus would be to improve online access to records and using innovation to address other areas of customer service. She said she has been actively working to improve public record access through the Circuit Clerk’s website, helping make it user friendly while also protecting personal and confidential information.

She would also focus on transitioning the office from a paper to what she calls a “paper on demand” system would provide many efficiencies and cost savings. She explained that achieving this advancement is more possible with someone already experienced in the office’s functions.

“This requires a comprehensive understanding of manual processes to be able to transition them to new business solutions,” Herwick said. “It also requires training of deputy clerks on the new way of business, as well as working with all Partners of Justice and the public to successfully transition.”

Should the County Board vote to fund a new case management system, Herwick said she is prepared to work with all the impacted parties to ensure that the new system is both accurate and comprehensive.

She said she is uniquely qualified for this role due to her current role and history with the department.

“I have a proven record of being a team player and able to successfully work with people. I will continue to lead in this same manner,” Herwick said.