About the Clerk

Appointed in August, 2020 by Governor Ron DeSantis, James M. Swisher, Jr. serves as Clerk of Circuit Court & Comptroller for Columbia County.  In this role, he oversees all funds of the county, manages a staff of 35, and is responsible for more than 1,000 constitutional and regulatory duties.  The Clerk of Court’s Office is a multifaceted organization that performs a wide range of record keeping and financial management services for the judicial system, the Board of County Commissioners, and most importantly, the citizens of Columbia County.

As Clerk of the Courts, this office gives support to judges in court proceedings; secures evidence, ensures that the integrity of court files are protected, and assists law enforcement and crime victims.  The Clerk maintains custody of all court records and of all related pleadings filed.  Swisher’s staff coordinates jury duty, record retention, record destruction, and manages the historical archives.   Swisher and his staff collects and distributes state and county fines, fees, court costs, registries and service charges. Essentially, everything in the judicial system begins and ends with Clerk’s Office services in some way.

As Recorder, the Clerk records final judgments, mortgages and deeds, and maintains the official records of Columbia County and ensures that their integrity is protected.  Additionally, the Clerk provides passport and marriage license services, and submits information to the Bureau Vital Statistics.  

As Clerk and Accountant of the Board of County Commissioners:  The Clerk attends all Board meetings, records the proceedings, keeps minutes, maintains county financial records and prepares financial reports. 

As Chief Financial Officer, Swisher is the custodian of all county funds and is also the county auditor. The Clerk performs a wide variety of services, which include maintenance of financial records, preparing reports, investing county funds, pre-auditing of county expenditures and maintenance of official records of the Board of County Commissioners.  In this capacity, the Clerk ensures that all expenditures of county funds are authorized by law.

As Your Elected Official, Swisher delivers quality service in the most cost effective manner, serves as trustee in handling collection and disbursements of funding for numerous agencies, and serves as “watchdog” for the citizens of Columbia County to ensure funds expended are only for a public purpose and for the benefit of the public as a whole.

Finally, Swisher brings significant leadership and management experience to his role as Clerk of the Courts and Comptroller. In addition to serving most recently as the Director of the Public Safety Training Center at Florida Gateway College, he also brings years of experience working within the judiciary system in many different capacities. This includes his work as a deputy sheriff, public defender investigator, and surety agent intern. 

Swisher is a lifelong resident of Columbia County who graduated in 2004 from the University of Florida with his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology. He has been a public servant for most of his adult life; becoming your Clerk of Circuit Court was a natural progression of his public service.