I first met Westmoreland County Clerk of Courts Bryan Kline through our bipartisan statewide association. Though we share Republican political affiliation, more importantly, we share a common cause: to increase collections of costs, fines and/or restitution owed by criminal defendants to crime victims and taxpayers.
Together we served on the Restitution in Pennsylvania Task Force, where he contributed experience and insights gained from his collections enforcement efforts in Westmoreland County.
Bryan's office modeled the best practices advocated by the task force, including suspension of driver's licenses for failure to pay (more than 500 to date), accepting credit-card payments online and partnering with the bench to establish a collections court.
The results speak for themselves. In 2009, prior to Bryan taking office, annual collections were at $4.5 million; they soared to almost $5.4 million last year.
Further demonstrating his leadership, Bryan obtained the approval of the prison board to make 20-percent inmate account deductions, ensuring victims of crime need not wait until their offenders are released to start receiving justice.
I urge the voters of Westmoreland County to keep your clerk of courts on the job and collecting for you. Vote for Bryan Kline on Nov. 5!
The writer is the York County clerk of courts.