To our Trial Court Colleagues,
If you read the recent letter from Chief Justice Carey and Court Administrator Spence, you have a good idea how our strategic plan responds to key concerns in the organization. You may also have attended one of the many informational meetings held in recent weeks in courthouses across the Commonwealth, to introduce the strategic plan to Trial Court employees, and to invite participation in its implementation.
The Strategy Leadership Team (SLT) continues to meet monthly to monitor progress on implementation. We continue to be impressed with progress in many areas. One of the concerns that was articulated in the employee survey last December was that the Trial Court is "reactive" instead of creating its own future. As we observe the positive changes happening around us, we are convinced that this organization is stepping up to the challenge, becoming more proactive and progressive. Here are some highlights:
- "Innovation Grants," which will provide resources for innovative projects, will be announced this week. Clerk Magistrate John Gay will lead a committee to assess submissions. Any employee or group of employees of the Trial Court, in any capacity, department, division, or unit, is eligible to apply.
- Each court department has formed a committee to work on the new staffing model. In the coming weeks, members of these workgroups will reach out to colleagues within their departments for input on the model. The Probation and Facilities departments have also started working on their models, and Security will follow shortly.
- As covered in the prior updates, email access has been extended to nearly all Trial Court employees. That expansion of access requires clarification of Trial Court policy regarding remote access to Court email via the Internet. You will soon see announcement of a policy that we believe will reasonably balance our common interests in convenience and internet security.
- Much is happening on specialty courts. A new steering group with representation from all court departments, probation, and relevant Executive branch agencies has begun to develop a long-term strategy for drug, mental health, veterans and homeless court sessions. The group hopes to complete a first draft of a plan by the end of September.
- Chief Justice Carey is leading development of plans to expand and institutionalize the availability and use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) techniques across departments. While some court departments use ADR regularly and effectively (Housing Specialists, for example), opportunities remain to use ADR to resolve civil cases earlier.
- Probation Commissioner Ed Dolan and District Court Chief Justice Paul Dawley will lead a task force to investigate innovative approaches to pre-trial community supervision of criminal defendants. Effective approaches, incorporating evidence-based conditions of release, could reduce burdens on defendants and their families and communities, as well as on the resources of detention facilities and Trial Court security.
- Clerks' Offices no longer are restricting hours to manage backlogs. As of September 3, 2013, all Clerks' Offices have resumed full hours for public access.
These are just some examples of the progress we are observing around the Trial Court. Progress has been slower on some initiatives, but given how ambitious our plans are, we recognize that some things will take longer. Still, we perceive new energy developing all around us, as employees across the Trial Court contribute and respond to positive change. Step by step you all are creating our future.For any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact any member of SLT.
Strategy Leadership Team Members
Hon. Paula Carey, Chief Justice of the Trial Court
Harry Spence, Court Administrator
Paul Burke, Deputy Court Administrator, Housing Court
Craig Burlingame, Chief Information Officer
Hon. Terry Craven, First Justice, Suffolk County Juvenile Court
Mark Conlon, Director of Human Resources
Edward Dolan, Commissioner of Probation
Hon. Michael Edgerton, Chief Justice of the Juvenile Court
Hon. Judith Fabricant, Associate Justice, Superior Court
Hon. Dina Fein, First Justice, Western Division Housing Court
Chris Fox, Associate Court Administrator
John Gay, Clerk-Magistrate, Springfield District Court
Daniel Hogan, Clerk-Magistrate, BMC Central Division
Tara DeCristofaro Melo, Register, Middlesex County
Richard O'Neil, Probation Supervisor, Probate and Family Court
Mary Rafferty, Senior Assistant for Administration & Communications
Cynthia Robinson Markey, Legal Counsel, BMC
Michael Sullivan, Superior Court Clerk of Courts, Middlesex County
Hon. Maureen Walsh, First Justice, Holyoke District Court
Kim Wright, Senior Assistant for Judicial Policy
Jill Ziter, Deputy Court Administrator, Land Court