Harry Spence Selected as Massachusetts Trial Court's First
Court Administrator by Supreme Judicial Court
The Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court today announced that they have selected Lewis H. ‘Harry’ Spence as the first Court Administrator for the Massachusetts Trial Court pursuant to court reorganization legislation enacted in 2011. Mr. Spence will begin later this month and will assume the duties and five-year term as outlined in that legislation.
“We are very pleased that Mr. Spence, who has broad public and private sector administrative experience, has agreed to assume this challenging new role,” said Chief Justice Roderick L. Ireland. “His in-depth background in fiscal and operational management, visionary leadership and strong collaborative and motivational skills will be a tremendous asset to the courts. He will work closely with Chief Justice Robert Mulligan to continue to strengthen court administration and use best practices to implement policies that enhance the delivery of justice. In Chief Justice Mulligan and Harry Spence, we are fortunate to have two dedicated leaders, known for their integrity, who have demonstrated personal commitment to serving the public.”
Operating under new legislation, the Court Administrator will be the administrative head of the Trial Court, charged with providing effective, timely and innovative support to judges, clerks, probation officers and staff. Working with the Chief Justice of the Trial Court, he will be responsible for shaping administrative functions that support the Trial Court’s mission of providing justice to the people of Massachusetts. His duties will include budget preparation and oversight, labor relations, information technology, capital projects and personnel policy.
In collaboration with Chief Justice Mulligan, the Court Administrator will have a key role in several major court initiatives now underway, including a comprehensive strategic planning process for the Trial Court launched earlier this year, the update of the Trial Court’s personnel policies and practices, as recommended by the SJC Task Force on Hiring and Promotion, and the development of a new capital plan for court buildings in coordination with the state’s Division of Capital Asset Management.
“In the last few years,” Mr. Spence commented, “the Massachusetts courts have initiated a process to equip the court system to meet the demands of the twenty-first century, through the implementation of time standards and metrics, the expanded use of information technology throughout the system, and the establishment of staffing requirements for the system. I look forward to assisting in further advancing and accelerating that work, so that Massachusetts might provide national leadership in the provision of justice to its citizens in a rapidly changing world.”
“Harry Spence brings a wealth of experience in complex organizations that will add value to our efforts and I look forward to working with him,” said Chief Justice Mulligan. “With the help of all who work in the Trial Court, we have made substantial progress in implementing court reforms focused on accountability and performance management. We must now build on those areas to further improve our efficiency and effectiveness, as we modernize the delivery of justice using technology and other available tools.”
Chief Justice Ireland commended the work of the 11-member search committee, which began its efforts last fall. “We extend our thanks and deep appreciation to the search committee, search firm Isaacson Miller, and court leaders who participated in the process to ensure a successful outcome. Under the focused leadership of search committee chair Michael B. Keating, many talented people invested significant effort to identify the qualifications for this new position and to meet with strong candidates.”
Mr. Keating, a former chair of the Court Management Advisory Board, said, “This position adds a critical perspective to continued management improvement in the court system. The diverse backgrounds and extensive experience of the committee members enabled a thorough process with an exceptional group of candidates from the public and private sectors. We presented two very experienced finalists to the Court and felt quite confident that either could succeed in this newly created position. Based on my experience working with each of them, Chief Justice Mulligan and Harry Spence will work well together and form a very effective partnership.”
Recent court reform legislation stipulated that appointment of this new position occur by July 1, 2012. As announced last fall, the Justices wanted to make the appointment early to ensure a smooth, effective assumption of responsibilities.
Chief Justice Ireland commended the efforts of judges and court staff who continue to deliver justice amid daily challenges. “Their ongoing dedication and commitment to serving the public provides an excellent foundation for strengthening the courts, and the success of the court leadership team depends on their continued support.”
The Massachusetts Trial Court has a FY 12 operating budget of $553 million and currently employs about 6300 people in 100 court locations throughout the Commonwealth. More than a million new cases are filed in the Trial Court annually.