To Trial Court Colleagues,
As we enter the holiday season and the close of a successful and ambitious 2013, the Strategic Leadership Team (SLT) would like to thank you for your ongoing commitment and enthusiasm to serve the public through the delivery of justice. We also want to share with you some highlights of the progress being made in the Judicial system all across the Commonwealth. As you are aware, Paula Carey, Chief Justice of the Trial Court (CJTC), Harry Spence, the Court Administrator (CA) and the SLT are committed to open and continuous communication throughout the Trial Court and beyond. To that end, the CJTC and the CA have traveled to many courthouses and departments to speak with and learn from the dedicated men and women on the front lines.
These court visits have generated positive media coverage and several invitations to address Editorial Boards at regional newspapers. Speaking to these boards has afforded the Chief and Harry the opportunity to speak about the progress being made throughout the judiciary through the efforts of dedicated judges and employees. Great work is being done on many fronts. Recently, a graduation event for the Veterans Court session held at Dedham District Court was attended by many community leaders and received positive media coverage.
There are several exciting developments that we wish to share:
- On November 21st the CJTC and the CA recognized more than 100 dedicated staff at the Trial Court Excellence Awards for their commitment to excellence and
our mission of Justice with Dignity and Speed. Video highlights of the event have been downloaded to every desktop to enable a sense of participation and support.
- The first round of the Innovation Grant program proposed by the SLT has been completed. This effort, chaired by Clerk/Magistrate John Gay, assembled a
committee of ten representatives who reviewed forty applications and selected ten to be funded. Seven proposals, including one to promote expanded hours planned
by the Lynn District Court, will be funded from Innovation Grant resources and three will be funded from operating funds. Applicants not funded in the first round
were encouraged to revise and re-submit requests for the next round of grant review to be held in February 2014.
- Significant efforts are underway to develop a unified and cohesive approach to specialty courts, including the re-call of Judge Ziemian to work with Judge Hogan
Sullivan, and the gathering of probation officers to compile data on the successes of drug courts. A strategic plan for this undertaking has been drafted and the
position of Specialty Courts Administrator will soon be posted. The Juvenile Court Drug Court in New Bedford has received a national training grant. Courts
submitting grant applications or with ideas on grant opportunities should contact our new Grants Manager Jessica Fix.
- On the communications front, steady progress is being made on the public website with an anticipated roll-out near the end of the first quarter. A Trial Court
Communications Manager has just been appointed and will facilitate and enhance future communication efforts. As of November, virtually all Trial Court
employees have email accounts and should contact the Help Desk if they need assistance to activate them. A policy is being developed on employee internet access
and the policy on remote access to Zimbra is about to be issued.
- The Trial Court continues to identify critically-needed positions and currently is in the process of hiring more than 100 people. The rate of attrition continues to
challenge the concerted effort being made to improve staffing levels.
- A successful print services pilot program in the Malden District Court has been completed and will now move to the Worcester Courthouse. Fifty new copiers have
been dispatched to various courthouses.
- Planning is underway for the second Annual Clerks and Registers Conference and a second annual Judicial Leadership Conference. An effort also is underway to
identify sites that can be available on a regular basis for regional training.
- A pilot program for Facilities Management custodial staff to wear uniforms soon will be underway at the Adams and Brooke Courthouses. Facilities Management's
recently-introduced online work request form has received close to 300 submissions and the response rate continues to improve.
- The CJTC and CA have convened a Public Access to Court Records Committee that has met and established an aggressive time line to address this complex issue.
There are various Housing Court, Land Court, and Probate and Family records now publicly available online through MassCourts.
- An effort is underway to launch standard on-line Restraining Orders, Small Claims and Supplementary Process forms that contain similar language with the goal of
more simplified access and utilization for the litigant and court personnel.
- Staffing Model 2.0 is well underway and making good progress. Clerks and Probation offices in each department are meeting and making progress to develop a
workable model. Staffing models for Facilities Management and Security also are underway.
- A new MassCourts Governance structure is being developed. With this model, Departmental Committees and external advisers identify and articulate data and
statistical needs to the statewide Governance Committee, which will make recommendations related to automation priorities and statewide policy
direction. Membership will represent all levels of the Trial Court.
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