Chief Justice of the Trial Court Robert A. Mulligan
Court Administrator Harry Spence

September 28, 2012

Hiring & Budget:

Over the past several months the Trial Court has done limited hiring and promotions to address critical staffing shortages.  Court Officers, Associate Court Officers, Case Specialists and Law Clerks were among the positions filled.  Next week, some Assistant Clerk Magistrate and Probation positions also will be posted.  We will continue to move forward carefully with limited critical needs hires and post a limited number of position titles at a time.

The Trial Court is proceeding very carefully in FY13 as we ease the hiring freeze slightly to address some of our critical needs, since the budget situation continues to be extremely challenging.  The FY13 appropriation of $561 million represents a 1.4 percent, $8 million, increase over FY12, which provides very limited opportunity to address our staffing shortages.

The current Trial Court staffing level of 6,264 employees reflects a decline of 1,300 positions since the beginning of the fiscal crisis in late 2008.  In July, given the dire straits of many court divisions, the departmental Chief Justices were asked to identify critical needs and some of those requests were approved, based on various factors, including staffing levels.

So far in FY13, the Commonwealth’s revenues are not as strong as anticipated.  In addition to some critical needs hires, we expect to implement a posting process for positions that are currently filled on a temporary basis, since filling those positions on a permanent basis will have no impact on the budget.

Organization Update:

We first emphasize our firm belief that all administrative offices in the Trial Court exist to support the divisions of every court department, as our local courts fulfill their mission to deliver justice to the thousands of people who visit our courts daily.

We have made some organizational changes in response to last year’s court reorganization legislation that we wish to share with you.  We have established an Executive Office of the Trial Court to facilitate communication and to enable our joint leadership of the Trial Court.  The new organizational structure of a Chief Justice of the Trial Court and a Court Administrator requires a strong working partnership to ensure that we lead the Trial Court with a common vision and direction.  We believe that our collaborative leadership will communicate and reinforce our singular purpose to enhance the delivery of justice across the state.

The Executive Office of the Trial Court will be comprised of an Office of Court Management and an Office of the Chief Justice of the Trial Court.  These offices will support Trial Court operations and the seven Trial Court Departments in the areas of capital projects, facilities management, fiscal, human resources, security, support services, information services, legal, and judicial education.

We believe that our joint tenure as Chief Justice and Court Administrator is off to a strong start.  We each have a strong commitment to excellence and a deep appreciation of the dedicated efforts occurring daily across the Trial Court.  We continue to make all possible efforts to enhance operational capability within the organization.  And we thank you for your continued understanding and support, which are critical to our efforts to restore the organization with the caution and care required by the Commonwealth’s fiscal realities.