Kelvin Soto, Esq. Osceola Clerk of the Circuit Court & County Comptroller Hosts Inaugural Halloween Group Wedding Ceremony and Reception

two couples stand in front of the historic kissimmee courthouse in a group wedding ceremony with bright blue sky green trees and text halloween wedding ceremony and a logo of a bird and kelvin soto osceola clerk of the circuit court and county comptroller

two couples stand in front of the historic kissimmee courthouse in a group wedding ceremony with bright blue sky green trees and text halloween wedding ceremony and a logo of a bird and kelvin soto osceola clerk of the circuit court and county comptroller

September 16, 2022, Kissimmee, FL – Fifteen couples per group ceremony are invited to participate in a spooky celebration of love and marriage during the inaugural Halloween themed Wedding Ceremony and Reception held on October 31st, 2022. The event will be held in the courtroom at the prominent Osceola County Historic Courthouse, the oldest still active courthouse in Florida located at 3 Courthouse Square, Kissimmee. In honoring Clerk Soto’s vision to “meet the public where they want”, two ceremonies will be offered, 10:00am in English and 2:00pm in Spanish.

Included with the Ceremony is a reception with cupcakes, beverages and themed music. Ceremony and recording fees, a decorative certificate, themed photo opportunities and a printed photo are also included. Attendees are encouraged to wear family-friendly costumes or attire.

The cost is $50.00 per couple. Couples will register for the Group Halloween Wedding and Reception at the Osceola County Courthouse, 2 Courthouse Square at the time of marriage license application. Registration will be open Monday, September 19th until Thursday, October 27th or until each ceremony reaches capacity. Due to the forecasted popularity of the event, couples are urged to make their marriage license appointment to sign up as soon as possible to ensure participation.

“Our professional clerk staff recommended we create a formal Halloween event. I am happy to support their creativity and ideas to serve. This will elevate the traditional Courthouse Wedding experience,” Clerk Soto, Esq. said.

Visit Marriage for additional details about the event and to make an appointment. If additional assistance is needed, please call the Marriage Department at 407-742-3500 or email [email protected].

 

 

Clerk Soto’s 2021 Year In Review

Clerk Soto is the first Osceola Clerk of Courts to hold office after his duties were restructured by the passage of Amendment 10 to the Florida Constitution. The amendment transitioned the County Auditor, County Comptroller and Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners duties to create the reformed Clerk of the Circuit Court and County Comptroller’s Office.

The office performs a wide range of record keeping, information management and financial management for the judicial system and county government through its various roles as Clerk of the Circuit and County Court, County Recorder, Clerk to the Board of County Commissioners, as well as the Accountant and Custodian of County Funds and County Auditor.

With the collaboration of our talented staff, Clerk Soto conducted a full assessment of policies, procedures and operations, which resulted in major reforms for the office to operate efficiently, effectively and ethically. Focusing on what needed to happen to provide quality and accessible services, he performed a thorough analysis that led to the restructuring of procedures throughout his office. Perhaps one of the most notable changes is the greatly improved technology for easier online access to reports, payment of fines and marriage licenses.

Additionally, many processes, procedures and technologies have been updated to help manage increasing caseloads, along with streamlining and expanding the collection of funds. The Clerk’s Office has also adapted their customer service model to ensure the safety of both staff and the public during the COVID 19 pandemic.

Clerk Soto’s mission is to break boundaries and modernize the office by adding state-of-the-art enhancements in every department to better serve the citizens of Osceola County. The ultimate result has been improved customer service, enhanced efficiency and good stewardship of public funds. What follows is Clerk Soto’s 2021 Year in Review.

Download Clerk Soto’s Year In Review

Passport Photo Program

OSCEOLA COUNTY CLERK OF COURT TO OFFER PASSPORT PHOTO SERVICE

The Osceola County Courthouse is now a one stop shop for passport photos and applications.

Kissimmee, Florida, March 28, 2022: Beginning March 30, 2022 citizens may have their approved passport photos taken when applying for a passport at the Osceola County Courthouse. Official photos for adults, children and babies are required with each passport application. The Osceola County Clerk of Court is able to take photos for all ages.

The service costs $12.00 and the photos will be taken according to federal guidelines. Citizens will save time, money, and the hassle of getting photos taken before their application appointment.

“I’m very passionate about providing this service to our community members. We listened to the feedback of passport applicants and implemented the changes necessary to improve the passport application experience for the citizens. The technological improvements & staff training we invested in allows us to wholistically and efficiently serve the public. Our staff is pleased to offer this new service and look forward to serving each community member with care.” – Honorable Kelvin Soto, Esq. Osceola County Clerk of the Court & Comptroller.

 

Passport applications and photo services are available Monday-Friday from 8:00am until 4:00pm, by appointment only. The last appointment is at 3:30pm. Citizens can make an appointment online at www.osceolaclerk.com. The Osceola County Courthouse is located at 2 Courthouse Square, Kissimmee, FL, 34741. Passport Photo Requirements per the U.S. Passport Photos (state.gov):

 

  • Passport photos must be taken in clothing normally worn on a daily basis.
  • You must remove your face covering or mask, so your full face is visible, and the face covering does not block portions of your face.
  • Take off your eyeglasses for your photo.
  • Have a neutral facial expression or a natural smile, with both eyes open.
  • Face the camera directly with full face in view.
  • You cannot wear a uniform, clothing that looks like a uniform, or camouflage attire.
  • You cannot wear a hat or head covering.
  • If you wear a hat or head covering for religious or medical purposes, submit a signed statement that verifies that the hat or head covering in your photo is part of traditional religious attire worn continuously in public. Your full face must be visible and your hat or head covering cannot cast shadows or cover up part of your face.
  • You cannot wear headphones or wireless hands-free devices.
  • You can wear jewelry and keep on your facial piercings as long as they do not hide your face. Permanent tattoos are acceptable for passport purposes as well.

About the Osceola Clerk of the Circuit Court & County Comptroller

The role and duties of the Clerk of the Circuit Court & County Comptroller are established by the Florida Constitution. The office serves the public not only as the Clerk of the Circuit Court, but also the independent County Auditor, Recorder, Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners, and Comptroller, managing of all county funds. In this role, the Honorable Kelvin Soto, Esq. provides transparency and accountability to ensure the funds are lawfully spent and that Court and County records are available to the public.

Public Services of the Osceola County Clerk of Court

The Osceola County Courthouse serves the public by recording marriages, passports and county records as well as overseeing the processes for filing petitions for guardianship, mental health, probate, tax deeds, foreclosures, and evictions. Osceola County Courthouse is open 8am-5pm Monday-Friday excluding holidays.

Kelvin Soto, to restore credibility to the Osceola County Clerk of Courts – Orlando Sentinel

By Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board
Orlando Sentinel
Jul 23, 2020 at 8:25 AM

Endorsement: Kelvin Soto, to restore credibility to the Osceola County Clerk of Courts Endorsement: Kelvin Soto, to restore credibility to the Osceola County Clerk of Courts – Orlando Sentinel

One thing is certain: Osceola County needs a new clerk of courts to restore the office’s credibility, which has suffered long enough under the incumbent clerk, Armando Ramirez (we’ll get to his transgressions later).

We’re just as certain which candidate is best suited for the job. That would be Kelvin Soto, an attorney and current Osceola County School Board member.

Soto’s resume is a good starting point. It’s outstanding. He grew up in Puerto Rico and then served his country as a U.S. Navy corpsman from 1987-1993, staying in the reserves and national guard afterward. He got a master’s degree in public health from San Diego State University, then got a degree from the prestigious law school at Berkeley.

He practices civil, family and criminal law in Kissimmee and got elected to the Osceola County School Board in 2012.

An impressive resume is one thing, but Soto has, by most accounts, been an effective member of the School Board. Looking at the clerk’s job, he demonstrates an understanding of how the office should work, and a willingness to rebuild it from ground up. That includes better services like translators in a county with many Spanish-speaking people. He proposes a satellite office as well.

Soto is earnest in his belief that the clerk of courts should make life easier for people, not harder. The tasks of the clerk’s office are broad and varied. They’re responsible for everything from processing and archiving court records to managing juries to maintaining evidence introduced in court to issuing marriage licenses and passports.

You don’t hear much about clerks offices when things are going smoothly. Over the years, we’ve heard a lot about Osceola’s clerk of courts.

That’s because the incumbent clerk, 85-year-old Armando Ramirez, has run the place as if it’s some kind of private fiefdom.

He promoted his son’s girlfriend from secretary to deputy clerk, jumping her pay from $60,000 to $95,000 (and gave her a 20% raise a few months later). His finance director quit because He feared for her professional reputation if He kept working there. His spokesman quit after Ramirez ordered him not to release public records. His IT director was fired after he said the staff was encouraged to violate public records laws. The HR director was fired, too.

All this, and much more, during his first year in office in 2013.

Somehow, Ramirez has weathered the storms and remained in the job, elected again in 2016. If he gets re-elected this year, he’ll be 90 by the time his term is through.

Ramirez didn’t show up for the Sentinel Editorial Board video interview with the candidates. No wonder. We had a lot to talk about.

Ramirez is self-funding his campaign, an oddity for someone who’s been in office for nearly eight years. Considering his record, perhaps not so odd.

Aside from Soto, two other challengers are in the race, and either one of them would surely be an improvement over Ramirez.

John Cortes is a retired New York corrections officer who got elected to the state House of Representatives in 2014. He’s leaving the office without having made much of a mark in the Legislature, however. He has a firm grasp of what’s wrong with the clerk’s office but his ideas weren’t as well formed or expressed as clearly as Soto’s.

Another candidate, Jossue Lorenzo, is a Heriff’s deputy who’s spent some time at the courthouse in the course of his duties and has witnessed some of the clerk’s shortcomings. He struck us as earnest but far less prepared than Soto to run a large and complex administrative operation.

We were glad to hear Lorenzo say he would treat the state public records law with more respect than Ramirez (a very low bar, that) but taken aback at the scenario he presented of keeping a clock on requests that might take, say, 30 days. The answer suggested a lack of familiarity with the law’s mandate to fill requests in a reasonable amount of time.

Because the only candidates in this race are Democrats, the winner of the Aug. 18 primary will win the office outright.

We worry that voters will split the vote among the three challengers, allowing Ramirez to skate into another term he doesn’t deserve.

Voters in Osceola should rally around Kelvin Soto, who has served his country and is the best candidate to serve his community as clerk of courts.