Best Practices Committee
January 29, 2001
Staff Present: Ms. Colleen Clark
Dr. Andrew Glenn
Ms. Yvonne Pettus
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order by Judge Vicki Hogan, chair.
Those present introduced themselves, and then Judge Hogan offered background about the formation of the committee. The Board for Judicial Administration (BJA) asked her to chair this committee, which can be viewed as a continuation of the Commission for Justice, Efficiency and Accountability's (JEA) Best Practices Committee which met in 1998.
The BJA established the mission of the Best Practices Committee as:
This committee will take the framework of the previous JEA committee and work on defining, developing, and implementing those ideas. The membership will be diverse, consisting of those that are intimately involved with the courts (i.e., judges, administrators, and clerks).
There was discussion about just what was expected of the committee and some of the obstacles that may arise. One of those being that the different levels of court inherently function differently, i.e., civil as opposed to criminal courts.
Several of those present had served on the former JEA Best Practices Committee and offered their input.
Ms. McBride spoke about the Trial Court Performance Standards that were adopted and her concern that there may be the perception of too many "social services" being done by the courts. The legislature may think that some of the programs should be administered by other agencies, and that the courts don't need additional funds for them (i.e., Drug and Unified Family Courts).
Mr. Graham said he believes it's important to keep the politics in mind when we plan on approaching the legislature for more money. We need to show unbiased research and reasoning why we want to continue or implement a program. Judge McKeeman concurred that we need to supply research and background information that can't be called into question.
Judge Fritzler indicated that we should look at some work that Chief Justice Judith Kaye, from New York, has done in conjunction with the Conference of Chief Justices/Conference of State Court Administrators (CCJ/COSCA).
Judge Hogan summed up this discussion by saying that there may be some global suggestions and changes that can be made, but there may be some that will be specific to court level or programs. Judge Hogan added that it might be up to this committee to define those levels.
Ms. Pettus will supply committee members with information from the JEA Best Practices Committee and will check with the National Center for State Courts on other information for the committee.
Defining Best Practices
Ms. Pettus began by going through the handouts provided to the committee. The first two were the Appellate Court Performance Standards and the Trial Court Performance Standards, standards for various groups were also included.
Mr. Graham raised the question of who were the "customers" that these standards were set for. Judge Hogan responded that it would depend on where you are in the organization. Customers could be litigants, public, legislators, judges, or other courts.
Ms. Doty said that educating our customers about what we (the courts) do is a key element. The quantity of work that passes through the courts along with the constitutional reasons why some things are done may need to be explained.
Judge Hogan agreed, but was unsure how we would incorporate this educational information into what this committee will be doing.
Ms. McBride remarked that frequently those with civil cases (i.e., divorces) may be set back due to a criminal case that must take precedence (this would be part of the constitutional element).
Judge Hogan passed out an article about "The 'Why' of Best Practices in Judicial Administration" by Judge Gayle Nachtigal from Oregon.
Judge Hogan then reminded the committee that the main purpose of this meeting is to gather all this information and digest it by the next meeting in March. At that time it is hoped we will have some ideas on direction and subcommittees might be formed to work on them.
Input-Output Model Summary
Dr. Glenn briefly went over the Input-Output Model Summary information provided. This model is expected to be an alternative to the Weighted Caseload-a methodology that is very expensive to produce (data collecting). This model is widely applied and accepted; inexpensive to create and update routinely; and allows for more flexible business processes by aggregating at a higher level.
Ms. Pettus briefly went over the Pierce County performance audits. Judge Hogan reminded the committee that these are preliminary, confidential documents in draft form-they aren't to be shared at this point.
Judge Hogan suggested that the committee meet every other month until committee work requires more frequent meetings. Those present agreed with this schedule and after brief discussion, it appeared that Friday mornings will work best for the majority of the members. Ms. Pettus will work on scheduling the next meeting on a Friday morning in March.
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