Election 2012: Collier County Clerk's race -- Brock vs. Barlow

This is the first of a daily series of Q&A reports with the candidates in Collier and Lee counties, counting down to the Aug. 14 primary election.

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— The Collier County Clerk of Courts is a constitutional office and a countywide contest will be decided in the Aug. 14 primary between Republican incumbent Dwight Brock and GOP challenger John Barlow.

All eligible voters in Collier County can cast votes in this race because there are no challengers on the Nov. 6 ballot. The winner earns a four-year term.

The clerk's office is responsible for keeping all public records for the county, such as property records, civil and criminal court records, and the office performs audits to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent lawfully.

All told, the clerk's office has 1,200 different constitutional and statutory duties.

Brock, a former state prosecutor, is serving his fifth term since winning in 1992. Barlow is a retired businessman from Ohio.

Election 2012: Dwight Brock

Candidate for Collier County Clerk.

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Name: Dwight E. Brock

Born: Dec. 26, 1953

How long you've lived in your county: About 30 years

Education: Bachelor of Science, Florida State University, December 1975; Master of Business Administration (MBA), Stetson University, May 1979; Juris Doctor, Nova Law Center, August 1982; certified public accountant; licensed attorney in Florida.

Family: Married to Cheryl; son, Bradley

Political affiliation: Republican

Current position: Clerk of the Circuit Court, Collier County

Q. What is the first thing you would do if elected?

A. Continue to execute the more than 1,200 duties and responsibilities for the Clerk of Courts as defined by law; act as "check and balance" of county finances to ensure transactions are lawful; make more information available online on county purchases, contracts, and programs; provide greater transparency and access to public records; implement "paperless" court record system; deliver quality customer service via a positive, professional organization; teach free public seminars

Q. What would you do to make your community a better place to live?

A. Continue the highest ethical and moral standards as Clerk of Courts. Be a role model in the community as an honest, accessible, and service-oriented public servant and citizen. Boy Scout leader; Gulf Coast High School band booster; implemented "Clerk of Courts" curriculum in schools; volunteer Hunter & Gun Safety

Q. What makes you the most qualified for this position?

A. As the accountant, auditor, and custodian of all county funds, keeper of all public records, and ministerial officer for the courts, my education and professional experience makes me uniquely qualified as Clerk of Courts, including: certified public accountant; licensed attorney in Florida; 19 years' experience as the Clerk of Courts; BS, MBA, and JD degrees.

Q. What distinguishes you from your opponent?

A. My educational background, professional experience, and the successful track record of accomplishments I achieved as Clerk of the Circuit Court in Collier County are what distinguish me from my opponent. Visit www.dwightbrock.com to learn more.

Election 2012: John Barlow

Candidate for Collier County Clerk.

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Name: John Barlow

Born: July 12, 1943

How long you've lived in your county: Since 1989, or 23 years part time until 1994; commuted to Columbus, Ohio, until 2003; retired in 2003.

Education: Bachelor of Science, Florida Southern College, LakelandFamily: Wife, Gail, two daughters, Diane and Shannon

Political affiliation: Republican

Current position: Retired

Q. What is the first thing you would do if elected?

A. When I am elected Clerk of Courts, my first step would be to meet with each Collier County commissioner and Collier County division administrator to discuss their needs and how we can work together to find solutions.

I would extend these outreach meetings to area professionals that utilize our services the most — attorneys, title agencies, etc. I would look for community input on how we can better serve their needs.

Q. What would you do to make your community a better place to live?

A. I would start to pay Collier County's bills on time. There are businesses and nonprofit agencies who aren't able to pay their employees or take care of our neighbors in need. This first step will improve our community tenfold.

When the clerk's office finally pays bills on time, local businesses that work hard for Collier will receive timely payment that lets them keep their businesses running and their workers employed.

Q. What makes you the most qualified for this position?

A. With 40 years' experience in running multimillion-dollar organizations, I've managed and motivated large staffs, worked productively with others to achieve goals, and kept customers happy with top-notch service.

I am the only candidate with a platform to best serve taxpayers, and the only candidate willing to turn the clerk's office into the professional, open, and honest department that Collier taxpayers deserve.

Q. What distinguishes you from your opponent?

A. My career was spent running businesses and meeting customers' demands. I'm not a career politician, which is why I've pledged to serve no more than two terms. The clerk shouldn't be seeking sensational headlines or dramatic confrontation. Collier taxpayers should have a Clerk of Courts that prioritizes results. I'm the only candidate prepared to bring private business principles to the clerk's office to achieve smarter budgeting, greater transparency, and superior service for Collier taxpayers.

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