Members Present: Judge Robert McSeveney, co-chair; Judge Marlin Appelwick; Mr. Stanley Bastian; Judge Stephen M. Brown; Judge Vickie Churchill; Judge Michael Cooper; Judge Richard Fitterer; Judge Deborah Fleck; Justice Barbara Madsen; Ms. Jan Michels; Judge Linda Portnoy; Judge James Riehl; Judge Stephen Shelton; Mr. Butch Stussy; and Judge Dennis Sweeney
Call to Order
Judge Robert McSeveney, Co-chair, called the meeting to order.
Introductions were made around the room.
Administrative Office of the Courts
Mr. Butch Stussy gave an update of changes taking place at the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC).
He announced the retirement of the Court Services Manager, Mr. Gil Austin, who will be replaced by Mr. Dirk Marler until Mr. Austin's replacement is hired.
Ms. Ann Sweeney will take on a new role related to risk management. Her new duties will include public records requests, with the goal of making this more of an outreach service, offering assistance to the courts; planning for pandemic situations and/or natural disasters for both AOC and local courts; as well as any other issues that arise related to risk management. Once a new Court Services Manager is appointed, Mr. Marler will assume the position of Interim Judicial Services Division Director.
After 30 years of state service, Ms. Jude Cryderman is retiring at the end of the year and Ms. Beth Flynn will temporarily step into her position until a new Court Administrator is hired. Judge Deborah Fleck stated how much she's appreciated working with Jude over the years and how responsive she's been.
All of the changes described are subject to approval by the incoming Court Administrator. Mr. Stussy explained the process in place to recruit for a new AOC Administrator. The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) has re-recruited for the position and will forward applications to the Supreme Court. All applications will be reviewed as they are received and Mr. Stussy is hoping to be back in retirement by April.
Judicial Retirement Account Plan
Mr. Jeff Hall stated that the current plan to administer the Judicial Retirement Account (JRA) has been revised. Board members had previously expressed some concern regarding a provision that establishes all of the BJA members as trustees. Because of this issue, contact was made with the Attorney General's Office for clarification about adding statutory language for the protection of the BJA members. The Attorney General's Office found that RCW 4.92 provides general liability protection. If new language were created to protect BJA members from liability, the new language could end up being narrower than the existing language. During the BJA Executive Committee conference call on Monday, members felt comfortable with the analysis and recommendation of the Attorney General's Office. The plan presented for approval excludes the section regarding disbursement of funds pursuant to a divorce decree. That section will not be added until legislation authorizing it is passed by the Legislature.
2007 BJA Request Legislation
The Executive Committee recommends to the Board that the following legislation be introduced at the request of the Board for Judicial Administration in the 2007 legislative session:
Board for Judicial Administration Position of “Support”
The Executive Committee recommends that the Board take a position in support of the following legislation to be introduced in the 2007 legislative session:
Board for Judicial Administration Position of “Oppose”
The Executive Committee recommends that the Board take a position in opposition of the following legislation to be introduced in the 2007 legislative session:
2007 Salary Commission Position
The Salary Commission schedule is set, beginning in January with a two-day meeting in Olympia to hear from all three branches of government and elected officials. February's meeting will be held in Everett; the March meeting in Port Angeles; the April meeting in Spokane; and the final meeting to adopt the schedule in SeaTac in May.
Mr. Hall reported on the Commission's November 15th meeting relating a report from the Department of Personnel (DOP) Salary and Compensation Director, containing information about the salary and compensation of classified employees. The union contracts which have been negotiated would provide members a 3.2% COLA during the first fiscal year of the next biennium and a 2.0% COLA during the second fiscal year of the biennium. Wages for state employees have fallen behind the private sector considerably. There will be a major catch-up for general state employees. An “L Step” has been added to the salary schedule. In addition, if an employee's salary is 25% or more behind private sector salaries, the employee's salary will be bumped up.
For management employees there are no general increases and the differential between the classified employees and the management employees is shrinking. State government salaries are not competitive and they need to keep up with general wage increases.
The Executive Committee suggests that the Board support and request a cost of living increase along with a modest one percent per fiscal year increase to achieve incremental progress for general parity with the federal bench.
It was moved by Judge Cooper and seconded by Judge Churchill to support the request of a cost of living increase and continue a one percent per year improvement for a degree of parity with the federal bench. The motion carried.
Financial Audit Performance Audit Measurement
Ms. Meagan Eliot and Mr. Hall presented a summary of the Board's history and prior actions in setting direction for the Best Practices Committee's development of performance audits. Ms. Eliot presented information regarding performance audit development and Measure 8. The measure's objective is to determine if courts implement financial audit recommendations, if any, in a timely and satisfactory manner.
Court Funding Implementation Committee
Mr. Hall reported on the most recent Court Funding Implementation Committee meeting. The Committee decided that under RCW Chapter 2.42 and 2.43 the state should pay for half the cost of court interpreters.
The Committee would like to create a Justice In Jeopardy budget policy highlights document that mirrors what the Governor does. It would show what the priorities are and why they benefit the citizens of Washington. The Committee approved it in concept, but the document still needs a fair amount of work.
The Committee hopes to have a one-page document describing all the Justice In Jeopardy issues to distribute to legislators. The document would highlight the needed changes, contain human-interest examples of why the changes are necessary, describe what needs to be done to improve the situations, and describe how proper resources could have improved the outcome for the people in the examples.
Access to Justice
Mr. Wayne Blair gave a brief summary of what the Access to Justice Board will be requesting in their 2007 legislative packet. Two of the items are $3.66 million to increase Access to Justice in rural areas of the state and $1.1 million to expand the CLEAR line in King County.
Mr. Blair stated that he has taken Judge Tripp's place as a representative of the Board for Judicial Administration on the Access to Justice Board.
Washington State Bar Association
Mr. Stan Bastian reported that the Bar's legislative agenda will be considered at the December BOG meeting. The BOG previously voted to support the Justice In Jeopardy legislative issues.
Mr. Bastian stated that the WSBA's Committee for Public Defense is working on their final report which may include some court rule and legislative proposals.
Ms. Jan Michels stated the WSBA is recruiting for the WSBA Executive Director position.
Reports from the Courts
Court of Appeals
Courts of Limited Jurisdiction
Judicial campaign contribution and selection – Chief Justice Gerry Alexander wants to have this discussion with the BJA, so this topic will be on the December meeting agenda. It was suggested that the Executive Committee talk about this issue prior to the Board's December meeting.
There being no other business, the meeting was adjourned.
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