Donna Kay McKinney
Bexar County District Clerk
Donna Kay McKinney was elected to her first term as Bexar County District Clerk on November 2, 2010, taking office on January 1, 2011, and re-elected to her second four-year term beginning on January 1, 2015. Ms. McKinney earned both her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and her Master's Degree in Public Administration at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), where she also taught Budget and Taxation as an adjunct professor.
Ms. McKinney has spent most of her adult life in public sector employment in all three branches of government. Her service includes working for the Texas Senate, the Texas House of Representatives, the Bexar County Commissioner’s Court, the Tax-Assessor Collector, the Judge of Probate Court, as well as the District Clerk.
She serves on the Supreme Court’s Texas Court Records Preservation Task Force, having been appointed by The Honorable Wallace B. Jefferson, Chief Justice of The Supreme Court of Texas on August 12, 2011. The Task Force was formed to study and report on the preservation of historic Texas state district and county court records. Ms. McKinney was one of only two District Clerks asked to speak on her preservation efforts when the task force's first report was presented to a meeting of the Supreme Court of Texas.
Ms. McKinney also serves on the five-member board of The Hidalgo Foundation, a non-profit organization formed in 2001 by Founder and President Tracy Wolff with the mission of preserving and renovating the 115-year-old historic Bexar County Courthouse which is the oldest and largest continuously operated historic courthouse in Texas.
In addition to her duties as District Clerk Ms. McKinney has served on the Bexar County Bail Bond Board since 2011. The bail bond board oversees the various entities that operate bail bond companies and ensures those companies are in compliance with state laws that regulate fair bail bond business practices. In 2014, she was selected by the committee to serve as the chair of the board beginning January 2015.
District Clerk Donna Kay McKinney plans to turn the District Clerk's office into a truly paperless system and to provide more information on the Internet. Since taking office, she has added the following information to the district clerk’s website; a week’s worth of civil and criminal dockets; all felony court records as an alphabetized spreadsheet dating back to 1974; and a combined civil and criminal search of the case listings of every document filed in each case. The ultimate goal is to make documents available for online viewing and printing, including being able to buy certified copies online. Her efforts will continue in order to make public records truly public. She believes the principle of liberty is open government and the free exchange of ideas and information. Ms. McKinney was recognized for these accomplishments and beliefs when she was presented with the Liberty Bell Award by the San Antonio Young Lawyers Association (SAYLA) in May 2013 and the Statewide Liberty Bell Award from the Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA) in June 2013.
In addition to her efforts to make her own department paperless, she has also taken on the role as project manager for the entire county’s strategy team that will be working on the transition to the newly mandated eFile.TXCourts.gov e-filing system. She also will continue updating the website to feature more information that is useful to lawyers as well as the public at large.
Ms. McKinney understands the value of an open court system and convenient access to public judicial records and government transparency. Her experience in all three branches of local Texas government has given her unique insight into the challenges that may arise when developing a system that allows open access to records. She understands the necessity to balance the privacy of certain personal information contained in judicial records with the public interest in convenient access to those records. She strives to go above and beyond the minimum requirements of access under state law in order to ensure the public can access judicial records with minimal effort. She will work to ensure an open court system in Bexar County in the future, just as she has done the entire time she’s served the County.