How the United States Constitution Affects You and Local Government

Two hundred and thirty-five years ago, on September 17, the United States Constitution was signed, creating the system of government, a representative democracy, that we have in place today. My office celebrates the signing of the United States Constitution each September during Constitution Week, which runs from September 17-23 this year.

The Constitution established three equal branches of government, creating a separation of powers and a system of checks and balances. This system of checks and balances ensures that no branch of government has too much power.

Our state constitution mirrors the federal constitution in many ways, but also includes essential government oversight at the local level. In 1838, the Florida Constitution established a Clerk and Comptroller as an independent constitutional officer and elected public administrator, creating a county-level system of checks and balances. Independent oversight assures residents that spending is legal and policies are being followed.

I am your Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller of the County, including ex officio Clerk of the County Board of Commissioners, Auditor, Recorder, and Custodian of all county funds.

My role is governed by statutory authority in the performance of the duties and functions of this office.

We perform over 1,000 different constitutional and statutory functions and duties that evolve with changes in laws, regulations and reporting requirements.

This office houses a dedicated group of accountants, auditors, and clerks who provide the necessary oversight of county finances and policy.

Financial oversight includes confirming that expenditures serve a legitimate public purpose by pre-auditing all county expenditures before payment is processed. And provide accounting services to all departments under the Board of County Commissioners. The accounting department follows legal authority and adheres to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and follows best practices recommended by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA).

The General Inspection Division carries out ex-post verifications. These audits aim to verify that all financial transactions:

  • Include supporting documents
  • Are recorded and reported accurately
  • Are duly approved
  • Does court spending serve a public purpose?

Not only does the Inspector General’s Division perform financial audits, but it also provides policy oversight by:

  • Undertake an annual risk assessment
  • Performing compliance audits
  • Performing operational/performance audits
All audit reports conducted by the Inspector General’s Division are publicly available on our website at www.ManateeClerk.com, along with annual financial reports.

This Constitution Week, know that your Clerk and Comptroller protects the public trust through the constitutional authority granted to oversee the taxpayers’ money of us, the people.

About Registrar and Comptroller Angel Colonneso

Angel Colonneso is the 18th Manatee County Clerk and Comptroller. Ms. Colonneso has more than 30 years of public service in Manatee County, most of that time working in the office of the Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller. Before becoming clerk and comptroller in 2015, Ms Colonneso worked as an assistant state attorney under Earl Moreland. She then served as general counsel to her predecessor, Mr. Chips Shore. Outside of her public service duties as Clerk and Comptroller, Ms. Colonneso is an active member of the community with memberships in the Bradenton Kiwanis Club, Florida Association of Women Lawyers and Manatee County Bar Association.

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