Supreme Judicial Court Endorses Final Report of the
on Hiring in the Judicial Branch
The Supreme Judicial Court has reviewed and endorsed the recommendations in the Final Report of the Task Force on Hiring in the Judicial Branch , the sixth report in a series to offer “recommendations designed to ensure a fair system with transparent procedures in which the qualifications of an applicant are the sole criterion in hiring and promotion.” The Justices presented this charge to the 10-member Task Force, chaired by Scott Harshbarger, former Attorney General of the Commonwealth, when the Task Force was formed on November 18, 2010.
“The Final Report represents the culmination of a year’s work by an extraordinarily diligent team, which has met 29 times, interviewed dozens of people from within and outside of our system, and has literally paved the way for a new approach to human resource development in the Judiciary,” said Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Roderick L. Ireland. “A well trained, highly motivated work force is critical to fulfilling our Constitutional mission. The timing of their work perfectly complements our efforts to recruit a court administrator and to engage in an intensive strategic planning initiative aimed at identifying and assessing the court system’s capital, technological and human resources needs of the future. We are grateful for the time, energy, effort and thoughtfulness of the Task Force members who have provided outstanding public service.”
The Task Force recommends a full commitment from the top down to merit-based hiring and promotion throughout the court system based on seven well-known elements that are designed to recruit and cultivate a talented, high quality workforce. The elements include well defined mission statements, job descriptions and competencies, enhanced applicant pools, objective candidate interviews and assessments, and comprehensive applicant tracking systems. To achieve success, the Task Force emphasizes the need for continuous training and performance reviews and a supportive culture in which all employees are united in common goals and understanding of the system’s mission and shared values.
“We greatly appreciate the extraordinary investment of time, effort and expertise, which resulted in detailed and thoughtful recommendations regarding hiring in the Trial Court,” said Chief Justice for Administration & Management Robert A. Mulligan. “Our challenge now is to implement the best practices outlined in this valuable report, which will serve us well when we begin to address the extensive staffing shortages across the Trial Court. A Personnel Policy Committee, chaired by Juvenile Court Chief Justice Michael F. Edgerton, begins work this week to integrate the Task Force recommendations into Trial Court policies.”
“The Supreme Judicial Court Task Force for Hiring in the Judicial Branch has provided sound guidance and recommendations,” said Chief Justice Edgerton. “The Personnel Policy Committee will thoroughly review all of the recommendations and consider policies and procedures implemented by other states and other sources. I fully expect the final result will be the promulgation of policies and procedures that will strengthen recruitment, hiring and promotion throughout the Trial Court.”
The Task Force issued five previous reports within the past year. The first two focused on hiring and promotion in the Probation Department and the critical situation that led to the Court to create the Task Force. The subsequent reports dealt with hiring and promotion of court officers, administrative personnel, and employees of the offices of the appointed and elected Clerks, Registers, and Land Court Recorder.
Members of the Task Force are Scott Harshbarger, chair; Randy S. Chapman, Stephen P. Crosby, Kathleen M. Dennehy, Kathleen M. Donovan, Ruth Ellen Fitch, Michael B. Keating, Hon. James F. McHugh, Harry Spence and Steven H. Wright. Former members who participated are Bill Leahy and Susan Prosnitz.
Final Report of the Task Force on Hiring in the Judicial Branch