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Robert Burkhalter

Robert Burkhalter

Circuit Clerk Candidate

Democratic Party

Questions & Answers

Answers printed as provided by the candidate, Robert Burkhalter.

1.) What is the importance of the Circuit Clerk to residents of Champaign County?

The Circuit Clerk is the keeper of the Champaign County Court Records, and is responsible for providing the public access and means to review any records that are not sealed by statute or court order. In addition, the Circuit Clerk maintains the record of fees and fines owed in court proceedings, receipts monies paid, holds and refunds bond money as posted, coordinates and mails juror summons, maintains public access to the Court's calendar, and provides court forms as authorized. If you have pending Court proceedings, your interaction with the Courts will likely begin and end with the Circuit Clerk's office.

2.) Why are you qualified to be Champaign County Circuit Clerk?

I have worked for the Champaign County Court System for 13 years. For five years, I worked in the Circuit Clerk's office, initiating case files, maintaining records, receipting fees and fines, and assisting the general public and local lawyers. For the last eight years, I have worked in the Courtrooms, assigned directly to an associate or circuit judge, setting the Court's calendar, and supporting the Judge administratively. Perhaps most importantly, I have been in court, every day, creating the record and issuing the documents that the Circuit Clerk is charged with keeping.

Not only am I qualified to be the Circuit Clerk, I am the only candidate that has been consistently performing the tasks of the job, successfully, for over a decade. No one else has the combination of experiences that I have, including working with the general public, the local bar, and the judiciary on an everyday basis.

3.) If elected, what is something you want to accomplish as Circuit Clerk, and how long will it take?

I really want to see the staff in that office empowered and enabled. While there are certainly some rote machinations necessary to all record-keeping, this is a fun job, and an endlessly interesting place to work. I worry that the staff feels undervalued, and I am certain they aren't given the training, guidelines, and encouragement they need to be successful, not only as individuals, but as a team.

I have the knowledge required not only to help them understand their job duties, but to help them understand their unique position within the framework as whole. Sometimes it is easy to feel overlooked as a tiny cog in the machine. Effective leadership starts with knowing that without cogs, the big wheels just don't turn. I've not only been the cog, but have been privileged to see the end result of the engine running correctly, which, in a phrase, is improved justice.

I would of course like to start to support my staff in earnest the very first minute of the very first day, but working together as a team is a constant and changing process. It would both start immediately and continue infinitely.

4.) Is there anything else you would like to say to an undecided voter?

I'm not a politician, I am a worker. I believe in hands-on leadership. I believe that clarity and competence breed confidence, confidence begets genuine satisfaction, satisfaction leads to happiness, and happiness catches like wildfire. I think you can work hard, laugh harder and create a workplace that is not only efficient and exemplary, but creates an environment that is welcoming and supportive.

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