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Biography of Jeff Fine

Jeff is a dedicated servant of his country and community who from a very early age has worked diligently to protect and serve others. 

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GROWING UP IN ARIZONA

Along with five brothers and sisters, Jeff was raised in the West Valley that has been his home for over five decades. His late father was a WWII veteran who worked as a painting contractor and led a Baptist youth ministry. Jeff’s mother is a homemaker who earlier worked as a nurse. While in high school, Jeff was active in extra-curricular school programs and selected to participate in two military sponsored leadership training programs for youth, one in Arizona and one in Alabama, graduating from both with honors. Jeff also worked as a teenager, first for his father, then for a home improvement store known as Payless Cashways where he was recognized as Part-Time Employee of the Year before parting with the company upon enlisting in the military. 

This biography is a summary of his life experience and accomplishments. It serves as a reference of his character and qualification for your consideration. Jeff would be honored to answer any questions you may have and can be contacted via Email at fine4clerk@gmail.com

ENLISTING IN THE ARMED FORCES

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At age of 17 Jeff enlisted in the Air Force Reserve in the field of Security Forces (previously known as Security Police) and was assigned to an Air Base Ground Defense (ABGD) unit. Following high school, he completed Basic Training as “Honor Graduate” followed by technical instruction in Texas, ground combat skills training with the U.S. Army at 

Fort Dix, New Jersey, and initial skill qualification at Luke Air Force Base. After completing initial training, Jeff returned to reserve status and continued service part-time.

Jeff periodically served on active duty for opportunities such as special weapons training, desert warfare training and various military exercises.

Jeff also completed the Non-Commissioned Officer Preparatory Course at Luke Air Force Base as “Distinguished Graduate”. During this initial phase of Jeff’s military career, he was awarded various decorations including the Air Force Achievement Medal.

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SERVING THE CITIZENS OF PEORIA

At the age of 18 and following his initial training in the armed forces, Jeff applied for and accepted a full-time uniformed position with the Peoria Police Department as a Police Aide assigned to their newly constructed jail in the capacity of a corrections officer. Jeff was part of a team responsible for the day-to-day care, custody, and control of pre-trial detainees and sentenced inmates. And, depending on shift assignment, Jeff periodically served as a shift leader in the jail providing him with valuable decision-making and leadership experience early in his adult life. Jeff learned an incredible amount at a very young age through his work with prisoners and the professionals of the Peoria Police Department.

TRANSITIONING TO ACTIVE DUTY

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At the age of 20, Jeff volunteered to serve on active duty in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He integrated with active-duty military personnel at Luke Air Force Base for the duration of the conflict. Following the war Jeff elected to serve an active-duty tour as a Recruiter. While serving as a Recruiter Jeff completed the Non-Commissioned Officer Academy. He also served secondary duty as Officer Manager for the Arizona region. During this phase of Jeff’s military career, he was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal, a second Air Force Achievement Medal and was 

recognized by the Military Affairs Committee of the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce as Outstanding Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year.

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DESIRE TO SERVE HIS COMMUNITY

At the age of 24, while serving on active duty at Luke Air Force Base, Jeff was compelled to serve his community in addition to serving his country. Acting on this he applied for and accepted a position as a Reserve Police Officer with the Goodyear Police Department. To achieve full certification as a sworn Police Officer Jeff balanced a delicate schedule of serving on active duty, supporting his family and attending the Glendale Community College Law Enforcement Academy.  Jeff graduated from the Academy with full-certification and received the Commander’s Award. Following graduation Jeff donated his free time to the citizens of Goodyear as a Police Officer while continuing to serve his country on active duty.

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SERVING THE CITIZENS OF GOODYEAR

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At the age of 25 Jeff returned to reserve military status and accepted a full-time position with the Goodyear Police Department where he worked in the Patrol Division. Five months after starting Jeff proposed a new program for the City and was assigned to the task of developing a judicial enforcement program. A year later the City formally created a sworn position in the Court referred to as 

a Judicial Enforcement Officer and badged as a Marshal. Jeff applied for and was assigned to the position where he further developed and managed several innovative and successful programs related to offender accountability and enforcement of court orders and warrants. Due to the needs of the Court, Jeff was assigned additional responsibility in areas of court management, administration, and supervision within months of his arrival. Jeff performed a dual role serving as both an enforcement officer and in the capacity of a Court Administrator for 3 years.  For a period of one year during this time, the position of Presiding Judge remained vacant leaving Jeff as the sole leadership presence in the Court. Jeff attributes the trust placed in him to serve with such autonomy, authority and responsibility to the training and experience he received in the military.

Jeff faced and addressed many challenges early in his court career such as: double digit annual percentage growth in terms of caseload; unfunded mandates; lack of adequate technology in the court; etc… At the time Goodyear was the 6th fastest growing city in the nation. To mitigate these and other challenges Jeff championed several major projects to include: implementation of comprehensive technology in the Court; development of a desperately needed court facility; development of a judicial appointment ordinance and related language for the City’s Charter; development of policy and procedures in the court; etc... The efforts of the Court team significantly improved the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of Goodyear’s Judicial Branch of government.

In these first years as a leader in the courts Jeff was mentored by a number of experienced professionals such as various presiding judges and court administrators. Jeff also received strong support from Goodyear’s City Manager and the Goodyear City Council who provided resources to meet the Court’s growing service demands. It was also during this period that Jeff received a new assignment in the Air Force Reserve as an investigator (AFOSI).

OVER A DECADE SERVING GOODYEAR AS A COURT ADMINISTRATOR & HEARING OFFICER

The enforcement and management duties performed by Jeff were eventually separated into two positions. As a result, Jeff was appointed Goodyear’s first Court Administrator at the age of 29.  In addition to his duties as a Court Administrator, Jeff was also appointed by the Presiding Judge to serve as a hearing officer.  In Arizona hearing officers are primarily utilized to preside over cases involving common traffic offenses and small claims disputes. Like a Justice of the Peace, hearing officers are not required to be attorneys.

For over a decade Jeff led Judicial Branch operations as a Court Administrator and applied the law as a hearing officer for the citizens of Goodyear. In these roles Jeff became known for his fairness, professionalism and for fostering a highly effective organizational culture based on efficiency, effectiveness, accountability, competency, innovation and service.

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Jeff was also appointed by the Presiding Judge to serve as a hearing officer. In Arizona hearing officers are primarily utilized to preside over cases involving common traffic offenses and small claims disputes. Like a Justice of the Peace, hearing officers are not required to be attorneys.

At the age of 32, Jeff was honored as Goodyear’s Employee of the Year and at 34 graduated from the Institute for Public Executives, a certificate program for government and community leaders administered by Arizona State University. At the age of 38, Jeff completed a court leadership program for court executives administered by the Western States Court Leadership Academy.

DEDICATED TO SERVING & IMPROVING THE COURTS

While serving in Goodyear, Jeff tirelessly engaged in efforts to improve efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of the courts resulting in tangible improvements such as: reduced waiting time for customers; reduced paperwork; better communication between courts and customers; increased staff professionalism; increased communication and collaboration among courts; increased efficiency (cost savings); increased effectiveness of offender accountability programs; improved court services for victims; consolidation of court reference materials and low staff turnover.

One very simple example of this can be seen in how Goodyear schedules its cases.  In many courts cases involving traffic tickets are often set for a single time each week resulting in large numbers of people appearing in court simultaneously, having to sit in crowded courtrooms and sometimes wait hours to be called upon. Jeff observed and avoided this problem in Goodyear long ago by developing a schedule where customers arrive in smaller groups throughout the day versus all at once.

Another example involves an innovative approach to compelling defendants to appear voluntarily when they miss a court date. When a defendant fails to appear in court on a criminal charge the remedy is to issue a warrant and have the defendant brought to the court by police.  The process of issuing a warrant, executing a warrant, and bringing a defendant back to court involves a significant amount of time and expense. The total cost of such is estimated at the time was between $500 to $700 per warrant. To reduce cost and promote compliance, Jeff developed and implemented a simple protocol. Just before issuing a warrant court staff takes 30 seconds to contact the defendant by phone to advise them of the pending warrant and compel them to appear voluntarily. A five-month study in the Court revealed a 70% decrease in the number of related warrants issued as a result.

These are just two examples among dozens of how Jeff and his team applied common sense and innovation to everyday court operations for the benefit of the community.

BUILDING BETTER COURTS THROUGH EDUCATION

Motivated by a desire to improve court services statewide, Jeff developed and taught courses for judges, court managers and judicial staff on a variety of court related topics. Jeff also developed and sponsored two leadership conferences for Arizona’s municipal and justice court administrators and presiding judges. His commitment to advancing the Judicial Branch through education and training was recognized when in 2003 Jeff was appointed by the Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court to the Arizona Judicial Staff Education Committee where he served two consecutive terms.  Jeff has also served as a resource to municipalities and courts throughout the state providing information and expertise on various court related topics. In addition to teaching Jeff also co-authored a comprehensive self-evaluation tool for use by municipal and justice courts in Arizona.  The tool contains a checklist and references that allow judges and court staff to assess their compliance with various requirements such as state law, administrative orders, codes, and policy. 

The tool was a breakthrough achievement for courts given that staffing at the state level for court inspections only allows for a court to be evaluated for compliance about once every ten years. Courts now can measure compliance at any time. In 2009,

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Jeff developed and hosted a roundtable discussion for presiding judges and other court leaders on the topic of addressing the fiscal crisis at the time. The roundtable event resulted in several innovative approaches to promoting greater efficiency in the courts.

DEPLOYING OVERSEAS WITH THE ARMED FORCES

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In early 2005, when the Air Force Reserve asked for volunteers to mobilize on active duty, Jeff answered the call and deployed overseas in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom as a Forward Deployed Historian.  For his deployed work Jeff received a command level award and the Air Force Achievement Medal from the Combined Forces Air Component Commander and Ninth Air Force Commander.

COORDINATING CHARITABLE RESPONSE TO NEEDS IN THE COMMUNITY

In addition to serving his country and community through his work, Jeff also is passionate about serving those with need in his community. Jeff’s most active effort in this regard has been with the Goodyear Fill-A-Need Program, formerly known as the Goodyear Adopt-A-Family Program.  Each holiday season employees of the City of Goodyear partner

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with local business and citizens to provide toys, clothing and needed items to hundreds of children of families in crisis right here in the Southwest Valley. While with Goodyear Jeff served as Committee Chair for two consecutive years and continued to serve the program through fundraising, logistical and promotional support after.  Jeff has also actively supported both the local and global community through his involvement with organizations such as Rotary International, WaterIsLife, Central American Lutheran Ministries and Summit Community Church.

REACHING OUT IN SERVICE

In 2009 friends encouraged Jeff to apply for a vocational exchange program sponsored by Rotary International.  

He was accepted into the program and in January and February of 2010 took personal leave from employment to travel to India where he interfaced with representatives of their judiciary, sharing and exchanging expertise with his

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peers for the mutual benefit of both countries. Jeff continues to share his experience in India. After, he joined Rotary as a member of the White Tanks Rotary Club where he served as the Club’s Sergeant at Arms.

TAKING SERVICE TO A NEW LEVEL

By 2009 operations at the Goodyear Municipal Court had achieved a high level of organization, efficiency, and stability.  For example, attrition was lowest among City departments at 0% (excepting retirements) for over a decade and the organization had developed a culture of service, teamwork, innovation, efficiency, accountability, and leadership. Team members were ready for promotion and Jeff sought growth opportunity for staff and challenge for himself. For these reasons Jeff’s friends, family, and peers encouraged Jeff to run for the elected office of Justice of the Peace of the Estrella Mountain Precinct.

SERVING THE SOUTHWEST VALLEY

In 2010 citizens of the Southwest Valley elected Jeff to serve as their Justice of the Peace and on January 1st of 2011 he assumed responsibility for the busiest Justice Court Precinct in Arizona. At the time the Estrella Mountain Precinct (later renamed the White Tank Precinct) included within its boundaries the communities of Goodyear, Litchfield Park, Buckeye, Waddell and portions of Avondale, Phoenix and Glendale. In addition to presiding over approximately 24,000 criminal and civil cases per year, Jeff engaged his new court team in reviewing operations and procedures to identify opportunities to promote greater efficiency and effectiveness. 

Jeff and his team implemented several changes including: revised scheduling to reduce waiting time; formation of divisions within the Court to promote ownership and accountability (civil, criminal, etc…); the development

of teams and assignment of team leaders within each division; revision/simplification of commonly used forms; revised enforcement procedures to promote greater 

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compliance with court orders and reduce cost of enforcement; increased use of community service sentencing options in juvenile cases; increased emphasis on training and development to address a longstanding deficit in that area; implementation of electronic document imaging and management; among other initiatives. The results were tangible as reflected in a 2013 survey of a broad range of court customers that rated their interaction with Jeff as a judge and the operations of his court with the highest possible rating of “Completely Satisfied."

BEYOND THE JUDGE’S BENCH

In addition to presiding over a brisk caseload, Jeff was also involved in several efforts that serve to further promote greater efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the judicial branch of government at the county level. Jeff was appointed to the Maricopa County Justice Court Technology Committee and was appointed Chair of the Maricopa County Justice Court Training and Development Committee.  Most notable among these assignments are the programs that have been developed and implemented by the Training and Development Committee. Due to several contributing factors, little to no emphasis had historically been placed on developing supervisory, management and leadership skills in the Maricopa County Justice Courts. As a result, those with responsibility

to supervise, manage and lead had not been given the tools to do so.  The Committee developed several programs to aggressively focus on this issue including development of the Leadership and Management Academy and participation in Arizona State University’s Certified Public Manager Program.

These and other programs are a result of the collaborative efforts of the Committee, partnering with others, and ability to obtain grant funding.  As a result, the culture of the Maricopa 

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County Justice Courts is continuously evolving and increased efficiency, effectiveness, service levels, accountability and innovation continue to be the result.

EXPANDING ROLE IN THE COURTS

In early 2014 Jeff was encouraged and selected by his peers to become the next Administrator of the Maricopa County Justice Courts.  After working with the outgoing Administrator during a transition period of 6 months, Jeff assumed responsibility as the chief appointed officer of the Maricopa County Justice Courts in September of 2014.  The position is unique in Arizona given the size of Maricopa County and the justice court system consisting of 26 community-based courts that address over 300,000 cases annually. As the Administrator, Jeff led the court system’s centralized operations that include functions such as: human resources; finance; facilities; technology; electronic document management; communications; training; planning; legislative implementation; centralized in-custody court operations; and other forms of support.  Additionally, Jeff established and maintained highly positive working relationships with leaders of other agencies such as the: Maricopa County Attorney’s Office; Office of the Public Defender; Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office; Maricopa County Superior Court; Arizona Administrative Office of the Courts; Office of Maricopa County Justice System Planning and Integration; Arizona’s Motor Vehicle Division; Arizona Department of Public Safety and several other County and State agencies.

As the Administrator, Jeff focused sharply on goals and initiatives that improve, efficiency, access, professionalism, fairness, and customer service. He and his team also protect tax dollars by championing smart initiatives based on best practices and leveraging of technology. Examples of initiatives include: shift to on-demand jury scheduling resulting in a 45% reduction of jurors summonsed; development of a video appearance center that has won multiple awards for virtually eliminating prisoner transport and reducing demand for costly jail space in justice court cases (click here for video); broadening of online services and text message reminders to promote compliance and avoid costly warrants in misdemeanor cases.

In 2018 Jeff ran for election to succeed Michael Jeanes, the previous elected Clerk of the Superior Court who retired. After prevailing in the primary election and training a successor, Jeff stepped down as Administrator of the Justice Courts in September of 2018 to focus on his campaign as the Republican Nominee for Clerk of the Superior Court in the November General election.

Jeff and presiding judges receiving an award for the Video Appearance Center.

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FIRST TERM AS CLERK OF THE ARIZONA SUPERIOR COURT

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After prevailing in the General Election, Jeff Fine was sworn in as the new Clerk of the Superior Court on January 9, 2019. As Clerk, Fine is the official record keeper and financial officer for the Superior Court and is responsible for overseeing a staff of 650, a budget of nearly $40 million, supporting more than 160 judges and commissioners, serving a constituency of over four million, and operating an office that serves one of the top five largest counties and trial court systems in the nation.

In his first and current term as Clerk, Jeff has focused on his 2018 campaign commitment to improve court services, make courts easier to use, increase efficiency and protect tax dollars. In 2019 he led his team in promptly reaching out with a survey to all staff, court customers, legal professionals and to the community asking for feedback on how services could be improved. Jeff then assembled a team of leaders, experts, and stakeholders from across the Office to review the feedback received and develop a strategic plan for bold and positive change. The plan identified over 50 opportunities to leverage technology and innovation, enhance communication, promote partnering for results and ensure that focus is on those who are served. Historically, progress on initiatives in government have been measured in years. However, Jeff’s team has succeeded in delivering major improvements, new products, and programs in matters of months and even weeks in some cases and earning 24 national awards for excellence and innovation during Jeff's first term. To learn more about the achievements and improvements delivered during Jeff’s first term of elected office as Clerk, please visit the “Why Jeff” page of this site.

 

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 Jeff standing next to the timeline for improvements implemented by the Office since 2019.

Committee Service

While serving our community Jeff has been featured as a speaker at local, state and national conferences and has also been served on 11 state and county level committees and task forces including: the Arizona Committee on Superior Court; Arizona Fair Justice for All Task Force; Arizona Digital Evidence Task Force; Arizona Legal Services Task Force; Arizona Committee on Judicial Education and Training; Arizona Limited Jurisdiction Committee; Arizona Commission on Access to Justice Self-Represented Litigant Limited Jurisdiction Workgroup; Arizona Judicial Staff Education Committee; Maricopa County Justice Council; Maricopa County Smart Justice Council; Arizona Child Support Guidelines Review Subcommittee; and Maricopa County Integrated Criminal Justice Information System Executive Committee.

FAMILY & FAITH

Jeff is married to Kori Fine who develops the future generations of Arizona nurses as a professor at the Grand Canyon University College of Nursing. Jeff and Kori have four children ranging from 18 to 29 years of age and one grandchild. Their oldest daughter is an Assistant Flight Chief in an aeromedical staging squadron who recently deployed to the Middle East as a member of the United States Air Force Reserve. Their oldest son, Jeffrey Jr is a restaurant manager, and their youngest son is studying business at GCU. Their youngest daughter is a senior in high school and will be attending GCU in the Fall of 2022.

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Jeff, Caleb and Alyssa

serving at Summit's video ministry

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Jeff's daughter Ashlynd at her
graduation from Air Force Basic Training

Jeff and others deployed overseas in support of military operations in
the Middle-East.

Jeff and Kori are members of Summit Community Church where they serve in ministries that they are passionate about.  

When time allows Jeff’s hobbies include: volunteering; wrenching on old muscle cars; photography; motorbiking; and target shooting.