The Office of the Clerk
The Florida Constitution established the Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller as a public trustee, independently elected to protect public funds and public records while executing the functions of Clerk of the Circuit Court, County Comptroller, Treasurer and Auditor, Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners and County Recorder.
The citizens of Manatee County elect the Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller to a term of four years. Angelina M. Colonneso is the current Clerk of the Court. R.B. "Chips" Shore served as Manatee County's Clerk & Comptroller from 1976 through July of 2015. The Clerk oversees a staff of more than 275 people, responsible for performing nearly 1,000 constitutional or statutory functions or duties, representing the broadest and most diverse mantle of responsibility of any locally elected official.
Clerk of the Circuit Court
As an officer of a court of justice, the Clerk & Comptroller supports the county's criminal, civil and juvenile courts by processing, filing and recording the court records and seal. The Clerk & Comptroller is responsible for maintaining the integrity of all court records. In Manatee County, the Florida Supreme Court has authorized the additional responsibility of providing electronic access to court records in accordance with Administrative Order.
Comptroller, Treasurer and Auditor
The Clerk of the Circuit Court's authority as an elected county officer with responsibility as auditor and custodian and chief financial officer of all county funds requires the Clerk & Comptroller to serve a ‘check and balances' function on behalf of taxpayers. The Clerk & Comptroller also invests and earns revenues on county funds to offset the tax burden on Manatee County's taxpayers.
Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners
As Clerk to the Board of County Commissioners, the Clerk & Comptroller prepares and maintains the records of Manatee County Commission and 14 other Board meetings and makes the records available electronically to the public.
As the official County Recorder of instruments, the Clerk & Comptroller maintains the County's Official Records, including real or personal property transactions; marriage licenses; notices of lis pendens; judgments entered by a Florida court or any United States court which jurisdiction in this state; military discharges; tax liens and releases thereof; other instruments required or authorized by law to be recorded. The Clerk & Comptroller also oversees the Manatee County Historical Records Library with Official Records dating back to the 1850s.
Other Duties and Services
In Manatee County, the Clerk & Comptroller also administers the county's Child Support Enforcement program, which collects over $27 million annually for our county's children, Manatee County Teen Court and Teen Court Too program, the county's only diversionary program for first time, youthful offenders who admit their guilt, and our Violence Protection Advocacy Program, which provides assistance for victims seeking protective orders.
The Clerk & Comptroller's office also issues marriage licenses, performs marriage ceremonies and processes passport applications.
A Brief History of Manatee County
In 1842, the United States government adopted the Armed Occupation Act in an effort to move settlers into southern Florida. The law gave settlers 160 acres of land as long as they lived on the land for five years, built a house, cleared five acres and served in the militia if needed. Enticed by this offer, pioneers began arriving in the "the Manatee Lands." The first settlers to arrive in the area, Josiah and Mary Gates, sailed six miles east to a site on the south side of the river near what is today called 15th Street East. Gates chose to homestead this area in 1841 and returned with his family a year later to establish the Village of Manatee.
Despite many problems, by 1855 enough settlers had followed Gates into the area to justify the establishment of a new county. At its creation, Manatee County consisted of 5,000 square miles and extended from the Gulf of Mexico to Lake Okeechobee. Over time, six more counties were carved out of the wilderness. The first to split was DeSoto County in 1887 which took the section that would become DeSoto, Highlands, Glades, Hardee and Charlotte. In 1921, the residents of Sarasota petitioned the State Legislature for the creation of their own county.
Today, Manatee County is 741.03 square miles with a population of 315,766. Like the pioneers who settled the community, today's residents earn their living through agriculture, aquaculture, tourism and construction. Manufacturing, health care, service industries and education add to the ability for Manatee County citizens to build careers and families.
About the Manatee County Courthouse
Though the Office of the Manatee County Clerk of Circuit Court and Comptroller operates with modern efficiency, financial accountability and state of the art technology, it is located in Manatee County's Historic Courthouse built in 1912. Taking only sixteen months to construct, it is one of the first buildings to be erected in Bradenton using reinforced concrete. At one time, the county jail was housed on the fourth floor and a dome rested on the roof. In 1925, the dome was removed because it was a fire hazard, and in 1966, an addition was made to the south of the building.
While the Historical Courthouse is the physical home of the Manatee County Clerk of Circuit Court and Comptroller, our office is accessible twenty four hours a day through this website.
You may reach us during regular business hours by phone or in person. We want to hear from you, our customers, so please let us know how we are doing in meeting your needs and making our office accessible to you.
For information or assistance with e-filing, accessing court and official records, or paying traffic tickets or child support payments , please select the link or call our office at
Timeline of Manatee County Clerk’s Service
|1856-1861:||Rev. Edmund Lee|
|1862-1863:||John W. Whidden|
|1863:||Henry A. Clark|
|1864-1865:||David N. Townsend|
|1866-1868:||Henry R. McLeod|
|1868-1876:||John F. Bartholf|
|1877-1879:||Robert S. Griffith|
|1879:||John G. Spottswood|
|1880-1888:||Robert S. Griffith|
|1897-1916:||Robert H. Roesch, Sr.|
|1917-1920:||William M. Taylor|
|1921-1932:||Robert H. Roesch, Sr.|
|1945-1956:||Lloyd M. Hicks|
|1977-2015:||R.B. "Chips" Shore|
|2015 - present:||Angelina "Angel" Colonneso|
R.B. "Chips" Shore has the distinction of being the longest serving Clerk in Manatee County to date; having taken office in 1977 and serving until his death in 2015. Upon his passing in July 2015, Angelina “Angel” Colonneso became the first female Clerk in Manatee County history.