By CARL MARIO NUDI
Parrish resident Lisa Wooten has worked for the Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court office for 22 years, starting as a receptionist right out of high school. Wooten, 41, has held several positions over her tenure with the clerk’s office and was recently promoted to manager of the Human Resources Department.
She was one of the 13 employees recently promoted to management positions. “I am very proud of all of our employees who have gone above and beyond for our citizens,” Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller Angelina “Angel” Colonneso said in an email. “We are very fortunate to have a talented group of exceptional people serving our community.”
Also receiving promotions were
“If people wish to excel and grow within our office, I want to help them achieve their goals,” Colonneso said.
Wooten was planning to follow a career path in education after graduating from Southeast High School. While attending Manatee Community College, now South College of Florida, she started working at the clerk’s office as a receptionist.
“My supervisor at the time put me on the track of being a paralegal, so I took those classes also at MCC,” Wooten said. “But speaking with attorneys, they thought the better option was with education.”
She graduated MCC with an associate’s degree in education. But Wooten decided not to pursue education and stayed at the clerk’s office. “I loved the clerk’s office so much,” she said. “Then I was promoted to a court administrator position, which I held for 17 years.”
In that position Wooten was the assistant to the director of courts, deputy director of courts, and the general counsel. She would handle scheduling, correspondence, and billing for those managers. Over the years she was recognized as a motivated employee and would also fill-in as the backup assistant for county clerk’s assistant.
“Lisa is one of many examples of someone who wanted to learn and grow within the office,” Colonneso said. “She was a Team Lead in our Financial Recovery Department after working in other positions within the office.”
After 17 years as a court administrator, Wooten was promoted to Team Leader of the Financial Recovery/Criminal Fines Department. “That was a really interesting department,” she said.
Defendants in civil or criminal court proceedings are directed to that office to pay the court costs. “We set them up on a payment plan to repay their fines and fees,” Wooten said. “And if the judge reduced the fine and fee to a judgment, we would do the paper work for the judge to sign and process the paperwork to get it recorded.
After about three years in the Financial Recovery Department, Wooten applied for an open position in the Human Resources Department. “I was hired May 1, 2017, as a human resources coordinator,” she said. “I assisted with recruitment and new hire paperwork, reviewed applications, and worked with the management team.” She also handled background checks for job candidates, and when they were hired, she would put together a new-hire and orientation packet.
A year later Wooten was promoted to a human resources specialist where she had to learn more about employee benefits, such as medical and pension plans, and the Florida Medical Leave Act. “[Lisa] tackled the task of learning everything that she could about [Human Resources],” Colonneso said. “She has a ‘can do’ attitude, which is great for any organization.”
In March, Wooten was promoted to manager of the Human Resources Department.
“Lisa is to be commended for helping our office build a solid Human Resources Department,” Colonneso said. “I look forward to Lisa’s assistance as we cultivate dynamic employee engagement.”
Colonneso has made customer service a priority in her office, and Wooten has a philosophy that the employees of the clerk’s office are the internal customers of the Human Resources Department.
“For new hires we try to be that happy face they see,” she said. “We want employees to know this is that safe place they can come to and ask any question and get help.”
During her three years in the department, Wooten has attended several seminars and workshops of professional organizations to become certified in various positions. She has been certified in Mastering Generalist Rules, and this year she will have completed all the necessary classes, seminars, and testing to obtain her Public Human Resources Professional certificate. “I’ll be able to put PHRP behind my name,” Wooten said with pride.
Wooten moved to the Cross Creek community in Parrish a year ago with husband, Tommy Wooten, a Code Enforcement supervisor with Manatee County, and their 6-year-old daughter, Lexi. She also has two adult step-sons, Tommy Wooten and Troy Wooten.
“We love it in Parrish,” Wooten said. “It’s so nice and what a change it is from living in West Bradenton.“The traffic is different; the people are different,” she said.
Wooten was born in Alma, Ga., but she was raised in Manatee County from the time she was a little girl.“I loved growing up in Manatee County and enjoyed all the opportunities here,” she said. “Alma is very small and rural, where here there’s plenty to keep a kid busy.”
Having a civil service career came naturally for Wooten; her father, Gary Barber, worked for the Manatee County School Board, and her mother, Zina Barber, retired from the Manatee County Tax Collector’s office.
She said she is proud to work in the county clerk’s office under Colonneso. “Ms. Colonneso does so much for our office and for our community” Wooten said. “We are so honored to have her as our clerk, and I’m very fortunate to have Ms. Colonneso as my mentor.”
Colonneso was elected as vice president for the Florida Court Clerks and Comptrollers at the group’s 2019 conference in June. She also was elected to the executive council of the Florida Clerks of Court Operations Corporation at the same conference. Florida Senate President Bill Galvano appointed Colonneso to serve on the corporation’s executive council with nine other members. The corporation provides the Florida Legislature with guidance in making budget decisions for the state courts.
Colonneso became the Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller on the death of her predecessor, R.B. “Chips” Shore, in July 2015. She was serving as Shore’s general counsel. The office of Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller is an elected constitutional officer, whose duties are to protect public funds and maintain public records.
Colonneso has a staff of more than 275 people. In describing the functions of the county clerk’s office, Colonneso wrote: “The clerk’s office is the most diverse mantle of responsibility of any local elected office. We perform over 1,000 statutory functions and duties. As an officer of a court of justice, we are responsible for maintaining the integrity of all court records. We serve as a “check and balances” function on behalf of the taxpayers as the auditor, custodian and chief financial officer of all county funds. The Clerk and Comptroller also invests the county funds, earning revenues to offset the tax burden on Manatee County taxpayers. We are also the Clerk to the Board of County Commissioners, as we prepare and maintain the records of Manatee County Commission meetings and other board meetings. The clerk is the official county recorder of instruments and maintains the county’s official records, including real or personal property transactions; marriage licenses; notices of lis pendens [suit pending] and judgments entered by the court or any United States court with jurisdiction; military discharges; tax liens and releases and any other instrument required by law to be recorded. In Manatee County we also oversee the finances of Port Manatee, as well as managing the five historic parks within the county. We also, uniquely, have a Child Support Program in-house, which collects about $25 million annually for our county’s children. Additionally, we oversee the Teen Court and Teen Court Too programs.”
For more information about the Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller’s office, call 941-749-1800 or visit www.ManateeClerk.com.