"Victory belongs to the most tenacious"
First attributed to Napoleon I, this quote was adopted by French aviation trailblazer and WWI war hero Roland Garros who made it his mantra by inscribing the words on his planes' propellers. Garros developed the first single-seater fighter plane equipped with an on-board machine gun that fired through the propeller. It was revolutionary and shaped the future of air warfare.
Most, however, recognize Roland Garros' name from the famed tennis center named in his honor that plays host to the French Open grand slam tennis tournament. If you follow tennis, you will have recently seen this inspirational quote - Victory belongs to the most tenacious - emblazoned on the centerpiece stadium during coverage of the 2023 tournament. Although not a tennis player, the stadium honors Roland Garros for his drive, intellect and courage … qualities essential for victory in battle.
Whether through battles in a theatre of war or sports - or even under Gold Domes - these powerful words have been proven true throughout history and feel especially relevant as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the creation of the Georgia Superior Court Clerks' Cooperative Authority. This paradigm-shifting event would not have been possible without the tenacious spirit of the Authority’s founders and Superior Court clerks who were willing to work together for the good of all clerks and the State of Georgia. As has been noted, many outsiders in the early 1990s did not believe it would be possible to get all 159 independently elected officials to agree on anything, much less using an unproven system like the one being proposed. But they underestimated the tenacity, courage, and unity of Superior Court clerks who simply refused to become the "dinosaurs of Georgia’s court system," as many in the judiciary had projected. Galvanized by a common goal - and ultimately the ability to secure their future survival - they came together to fight for the Authority’s creation!
The quote - Victory belongs to the most tenacious - not only resonates with how the Authority came to be, but also captures the essence of the remarkable journey and numerous accomplishments that unfolded over the three decades that followed. Overcoming legislative battles, solving complex technological challenges, and navigating through economic uncertainly, the Authority was driven by a vision and commitment to continually improve services and develop and offer new ones for the benefit of Superior Court clerks and the citizens of Georgia. It didn’t come easy or without some out-of-the-box thinking, but that vision and commitment resulted in success after success … developing the statewide real estate index, overseeing Georgia’s central database of notaries public, managing and bringing accountability to court fines and fees, leveraging technology to allow for the electronic filing of UCCs and real estate records, creating archival programs to store and protect clerks’ vital records ... and that commitment continues with the recent launch of the Authority’s Filing Activity Notification System to help protect Georgia citizens against house theft and other fraudulent activity! These successful projects - among many more that will be mentioned throughout this report - exist today because of the collective vision, collaborative efforts, and fighting spirit of Superior Court clerks and Authority staff.
As described by long-time Authority consultant Gary Yates, who was part of the visionary clerk team that strategized and battled to create the Authority, it all comes down to a refusal to fail:
"Continuing to this day is the absolute determination by the clerks and Authority staff to successfully execute any project taken on. The number of projects implemented without a single failure is a tribute to the leadership and staff who work so hard on behalf of clerks and to the clerks themselves who make it all happen. The refusal to fail is what has made the clerks and Authority successful."
Far from becoming a relic of the past as once predicted, clerks have fought to “make it all happen” since 1993 when they came together to create the Authority and, since, have revolutionized the office of Superior Court clerk by embracing technology and implementing project after project for the benefit of the court system and their constituents. Recognizing this as critical to the Authority's success, GSCCCA Executive Director John Earle praised the clerks’ longstanding ability to adapt:
“Clerks are to be commended for their ongoing willingness to accept and embrace change in their daily office operations for the betterment of all including the citizens they serve. Realizing that change is not always easy, it’s impressive that 159 duly elected officials have continuously united around change.”
In addition to a forward-thinking, refuse-to-fail mindset that has been constant from the Authority’s founding, the importance of leveraging cutting-edge technology has, without a doubt, been essential to the success story. According to Authority IT Director Andy Wightwick:
"I think that a lot of the GSCCCA’s success over time has been driven by innovative people who could first identify and then apply emerging technologies to solve contemporary problems. The successful completion and operation of highly complex and technical projects helped the Authority become recognized as the de facto technology leader, and therefore a natural choice for guaranteeing success on future projects. The Authority has proven that it can anticipate, plan for, and ultimately accomplish even the most daunting technical task facing the clerks."
The Georgia Superior Court Clerks' Cooperative Authority was created by clerks, for clerks. It was born out of the recognition that a collaborative and unified effort was necessary to address the challenges faced by Superior Court clerks across the state. Today, as we close out another strong fiscal year, we celebrate this momentous anniversary and the remarkable journey in partnership with and service to Georgia’s Superior Court clerks. Our shared success is a testament to the power of unity, determination, innovation and what can be achieved when partners work together towards a shared goal and simply refuse to fail.
From the beginning and rooted to its core, innovation, collaboration and vision have defined the Authority. Although the culture remains the same, the GSCCCA is a very different organization today than the one that opened its doors in 1995. Since its inception, the Authority has not only fulfilled its original purpose of establishing a statewide system for the indexing of UCC documents, but has successfully developed and implemented, at no cost to the state, a variety of other successful projects. Effective collaboration with other state agencies and numerous not-for-profit groups for the benefit of the State of Georgia and its citizens has become one of the hallmarks of the Authority’s success and why it is respected both locally and nationally for its progressive, innovative and effective approach to problem solving.
For nearly three decades, the Authority has been an innovator within the public records arena and has led the State of Georgia to the forefront of court technology. Using a mix of old-fashioned cooperation and state-of-the-art technology, the GSCCCA has taken abstract ideas — often thought impossible — to the concrete world of implementation, and, in so doing, has changed the way many do business and made life easier for those accessing real estate records, financing statements, criminal case data, and other court documents.
Click here to read more in our 2022-2023 Accomplishments & Year-end Report.
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