Minority and Justice Commission
Workforce Diversity Sub-committee
October 16, 1998
The Work Force Diversity meeting was called to order by Judge Deborah D. Fleck at 12:30 p.m. at the Office of the Administrator for the Courts, Two Union Square, Room 1606, Seattle. Those in attendance were: Judge Deborah D. Fleck, Judge Ronald E. Cox, Ms. Kazzie Katayama, Jeffrey C. Sullivan, Robert C. Boruchowitz, Ms. Madelyn Botta, Ms. Lourdes Fuentes, Ms. Mary I. Yu, and Ms. Donna V. McConnell-Adams.
The sub-committee met to discuss the direction of the Workforce Diversity Sub-committee. Meetings between Judge Fleck and Ms. Yu have taken place to discuss the focus of the committee. Judge Fleck has assumed the position of chairperson from former Commission member, Judge Elaine Houghton.
Suggestions to the Sub-committee
Suggestions to the Sub-committee
The first suggestion from sub-committee members was to develop a work force diversity education program that combines Achievement Architects North's curriculum and the Work Force Diversity curriculum that was presented last spring at the Judicial Conference. The program covered Work Force Diversity and Employment Law and was presented by Ms. Mary I. Yu, Ms. Sheryl Willert, and Ms. Karen Pool Norby. The sub-committee discussed developing a proposal for a program that combines philosophy and practical information for judges and court employees. The suggested components of the program are hiring, firing and training employees. Judge Fleck's goal is to have participation from every court in the state.
The committee discussed designing an invitation process for work force diversity educational programs to demonstrate that judges view diversity as a priority for the court system. The process might include judges from the Commission.
The sub-committee discussed the pros and cons of offering a stand-alone program versus one that is part of an existing conference.
The program could be developed as a one-day seminar, possibly being offered between fall and spring conferences. Different teaching and learning approaches would be based on the expected audience.
The sub-committee should probably consider offering different levels of the program based on who is involved in the particular court's recruiting, screening and hiring process and who might be attending the program. The sub-committee discussed the need to allow each court to designate program participants due to the fact that a Presiding Judge, for example, might send/appoint attendees based on the size of the court and its recruiting, screening, and hiring process.
A question was raised for the sub-committee's consideration. Does the Commission want to go in a new direction from offering philosophical programs to offering ones on employment law issues? Some committee members thought that the geographical area might dictate what approach can be taken for the proposed program. Some judges may not be on board with diversity issues and efforts, but that might not be a large group.
The Work Force Diversity currently has a budget of $13,250 that is available through the end of this biennium (June 1999).
An important key to this issue is marketing of Work Force Diversity programs offered by the Commission and attracting those participants who will have the most impact in their court. The program focus needs to reflect the benefits of having a diverse work force along with issues of work environment, acceptance, and tolerance. Program components should address the racial division that might exist across the state. Some committee members believe that there is a need to have judges speak to their peers and other court employees about the issues.
The committee will hold a conference call meeting within the next few weeks to continue the discussion.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:40 p.m.