Every reporter knows you never know when you’re going to know something. I was perusing the new newsletter from Dallas County District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons. Why? Well, I don’t know, except everybody talks about what a great job he’s doing. You’d think I wouldn’t be interested. But then I spotted this little item: “Trust/Accounting makes big strides in customer service.”
I know. I know. You’re thinking, “Wow, Jim, that sounds about as fascinating as watching old guys do comb-overs at the Y.” But listen. It says Fitzsimmons has “instituted use of credit and debit cards through over-the-counter and home-based computers, significantly increasing the amount of felony collections.”
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Marsha Bills, his assistant, explained to me that people who owe money based on verdicts -- fines, restitution, whatever -- used to have to pay by cash or check, through the mail or at the counter. Fitzsimmons changed it so you could use plastic or pay online. Bills says now people are paying more often and pay bigger amounts of what they owe.
Makes sense. Felons live in the 21st century too. Read newsletters. You’ll live longer. --Jim Schutze