Nikki Alvarez-Sowles to succeed Paula O’Neil, become Pasco’s 8th Clerk & Comptroller
Chief Judge appoints longtime COO as interim Clerk & Comptroller
Nikki Alvarez-Sowles, Esq., is set to succeed the retiring Paula S. O’Neil, Ph.D.
Alvarez-Sowles, who has served the Office as Chief Operations Officer since 2010, was appointed Tuesday by Sixth Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Anthony Rondolino, who issued his administrative order Tuesday evening.
The appointment is ad interim – at interim – pending Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decision regarding a permanent successor to fill the balance of Dr. O’Neil’s term (through the end of 2020). The Tampa-born attorney will become Pasco’s eighth Clerk & Comptroller, its second by appointment.
“Chief Judge Rondolino knows the Office will be in great hands with Clerk Alvarez- Sowles leading it,” Dr. O’Neil said. “It’s a great day in the history of Pasco County.”
As COO, Alvarez-Sowles guided the adoption of numerous taxpayer-friendly initiatives that improved customer service, boosted efficiency, drove down costs, and enhanced transparency, including:
• Implemented the Clerk & Comptroller’s Legal Resource Centers in 2016 to provide legal resources and assistance to unrepresented parties and attorneys.
• Managed and directed implementation of assorted technical improvements, among them: eFiling in civil and criminal courts; public access to online court records; tax-deed sales online; civil and criminal case maintenance system; and electronic juror- management system.
• Oversaw conversion of a legacy financial software program to Tyler Munis, used by the
& Comptroller’s Finance Department to manage more than $2 billion in annual transactions.
• Coordinated conversion of the Clerk & Comptroller’s case-management system from a legacy mainframe that contained more than 40 million records.
Alvarez-Sowles played soccer at the University of South Florida (where she was a member of the Scholar-Athlete 3.0 Club and a Student Government Senator) before earning her Juris Doctor at Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Mich.
From 2000-2007, she practiced real estate law with the Tampa firm of Echevarria, Codilis & Stawiarski, P.I., and spent a year as Real Estate Development Manager for the nonprofit Housing & Education Alliance, Inc., before joining the Palm Beach Clerk & Comptroller’s Office as Director of
Branch Court Services.
A chance meeting with Dr. O’Neil and several members of her Executive Team during a statewide conference luncheon led to further discussion and, ultimately, Alvarez-Sowles finding her career home in the Pasco Clerk & Comptroller’s Office, where she has immersed herself in work, family, and
community service. Examples of her extracurricular pursuits include:
• Immediate past president, Leadership Pasco
• West Pasco Bar Association, member and past president
• Rotary Club of New Port Richey
• Member of various committees and workgroups devoted to performance excellence in government work, such as:
o Florida Clerks & Comptrollers’ Best Practices Workgroup
o Supreme Court workgroups
o Florida Bar Small Claims Rules Committee
o Pasco-Hernando State College Technical Advisory Committee for Paralegal Studies
o Pasco County School District and Success Plan Committee
• Advisor to board of directors for Housing and Education Alliance, Inc.
In tireless pursuit of nurturing excellence, this year, Alvarez-Sowles served as a Florida Governor’s Sterling Examiner and joined Florida Center for Public Management, Certified Public Manager Program, based at Florida State University, as an adjunct instructor.
The new Clerk & Comptroller is married to Kevin Sowles, and they have two children: daughter Lexi and son Soren. The family lives and thrives in Land O’ Lakes.
Paula O’Neil’s retirement – after 39 years of public service, the last 10½ as Clerk & Comptroller – becomes official at midnight Sunday.