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September 2006

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This article is in the news archives --- for current news go to the Third Branch News.


2006 Director's Awards Honor Heroic Response, Leadership, and Innovation

The 2006 Director's Awards honored leadership and innovation in the federal courts, and also the extraordinary response of Judiciary employees post-Katrina. Employees are nominated by their courts for awards in the areas of outstanding leadership, excellence in court operations, and extraordinary actions. Recipients are selected by the Director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

Director's Award for Extraordinary Actions

The criteria for the award asks that nominees exhibit bravery and concern for others in the face of adverse conditions, display creativity and resourcefulness in a critical situation, and help ensure that the Judiciary's mission is met during a critical situation.

Thirteen nominations—a total of 90 individuals—received 2006 Director's Awards for Extraordinary Actions. They were recognized for their heroic efforts, and for their creativity and resourcefulness, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Recipients are from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the Middle, Eastern and Western Districts of Louisiana, and the Southern District of Mississippi. They are network and system administrators, probation and pretrial services officers, property and procurement specialists, staff attorneys, clerks, clerical assistants, courtroom deputies and secretaries, among others. For a complete listing of these outstanding individuals, please visit our website at http://www.uscourts.gov/ttb/09-06/2006awards.html.

Director's Award for Outstanding Leadership

Chief Probation Officer Paul W. DeFelice and Chief Deputy Clerk John Matthew Domurad, both from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, received 2006 Director's Awards for Outstanding Leadership. This award recognizes managerial employees who may have, for example, led national endeavors to improve the Judiciary, exhibited exemplary stewardship of resources, increased workforce productivity, facilitated service, or ensured access to the courts.

In addition to work on advisory committees, and his efforts to provide better access to and productivity within the Judiciary, DeFelice was an early and active supporter of the Access to Law Enforcement System (ATLAS) network for the federal Judiciary. ATLAS has greatly increased the ability of probation and pretrial services officers nationwide to perform their investigative and supervisory duties. He initiated a unique treatment program, the High Impact Incarceration Program, that has reduced detention rates for defendants and probation/supervised release violators. His introduction of a completely random urinalysis program has curtailed the cost of substance abuse testing and led to interest from other districts in the program's collection and testing procedures.

Domurad's local efforts to review and investigate the rent bills for the district's court facilities led to a savings of more than $23 million in rent for buildings in the Northern District and two facilities in the Southern District of New York. He has helped to create a process to ensure that Judiciary rent payments are in compliance with the Code of Federal Regulations and is now visiting every circuit in the country to work with local circuit and unit executives to review classification of space and rental rates at each courthouse.

Director's Award for Excellence in Court Operations: Court Technology

The Director's Award for Excellence in Court Operations recognizes achievements in operating with economy and efficiency, innovations that improve service, or programs that enhance the public's awareness of the Judiciary. All of the 2006 winners won within this category for excellence in court technology.

Domenic J. D'Allessio, systems programmer for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of California, developed and implemented the Cash Register/Electronic Case Files Program, a software application that automates the bankruptcy court's cashier/intake deputies' receipt-writing duties, performing all receipting for any monetary collections and integrating the Bankruptcy Court Financial Accounting System. The program saves time and effort and ensures accuracy of data.

In the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, management analyst Laura W. Simon and assistant director for automation and technology Chris Warner, with Mark Soltys, the assistant circuit executive for automation in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, were recognized for the roles they played in the development and implementation of the new Online System for Clerkship Application and Review (OSCAR). This innovative system, which automates a very paper-intensive processing of applications for clerkships in the federal courts, has proved popular with participating judges.

Kirk T. McDonough, assistant manager for the Information Technology system in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, received an Excellence in Court Operations Award for his leadership in developing the automated inventory reporting system (AIRS). The program helps manage a court's inventory and is now in use in 46 court units. Based on court-user suggestions, McDonough has revised AIRS to incorporate an inventory management system for consumable supplies, bar code reader functionality, reports required by the Procurement Management Division, and software licensing management.