Text-Size -A+

August 2008

  • print
  • FAQs

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


2008 Director's Award Recipients Named

Eight individuals have been named recipients of the 2008 Director’s Awards, given annually by the Director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts in recognition of the contributions of federal Judiciary members. This year’s winners were recognized for their outstanding leadership, for excellence in court operations, and, in one group award, for their extraordinary response to a critical situation.

“Every day, there are many in the Judiciary who contribute to the mission of the federal courts,” said AO Director James C. Duff. “But it is especially gratifying to recognize the outstanding efforts of these eight individuals who are improving operations and services and who demonstrate their leadership.”

Director’s Award for Outstanding Leadership

The Director’s Award for Outstanding Leadership acknowledges managerial employees who, through their outstanding leadership skills, contributed to the Judiciary on a national level. Recipients may have demonstrated exemplary stewardship of resources, led national efforts to improve the federal Judiciary or foster innovations, developed workforce programs to increase productivity, ensured access to the courts, or enhanced the image of the courts. Three individuals received awards for outstanding leadership.

Richard W. Crawford

Chief U.S. Probation Officer Richard W. Crawford, District of Hawaii, is recognized for the successful development and implementation of an offender reentry initiative and evidence-based practice model. As districts nationwide faced growing caseloads and limited resources, Crawford established a framework and system of supervision designed to reduce recidivism and violence, promote public safety, assist offenders transitioning to the community, and improve delivery of services and resources.

Among the innovations he pioneered were satellite drug screening and reporting stations to provide supervision services in remote areas of the Hawaiian Islands; a series of interactive journals utilizing cognitive behavioral therapy methods to address the needs of offenders; and a rigorous 150-hour program designed to train and prepare adult offenders to qualify for employment in the construction industry in Hawaii.

Charles R. Diard, Jr.

Clerk of Court Charles R. Diard Jr., U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, is recognized for his innovative and enterprising leadership in both administration and technology. Under his direction, the court has gone completely electronic with all civil and criminal records filed and maintained through the Case Management/Electronic Case Files(CM/ECF) system. The court has mentored many other courts in their conversion to CM/ECF, while leading in the implementation of CM/ECF releases. Under his guidance, district courtrooms have been upgraded with state-of-the-art technology plus access to the telephone interpreting program in every courtroom. Diard is currently working on a streamlined on-line method for the authorization of and payment for transcripts. His approach is service-oriented, whether it’s to the public, the bar, or another court.

Sean F. McAvoy

Bankruptcy Clerk of Court Sean F. McAvoy, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Iowa, is recognized for his effort and enthusiasm, both of which have energized the clerk’s office and raised its level of excellence. McAvoy is a member of both the CM/ECF Working Group and the Forms Modernization Project, and is a proposed member of the “Future of CM/ECF” Steering Committee. He has served since December 2005 as a member and since 2007, as chair of the Federal Judicial Center’s Bankruptcy Education Advisory Group. McAvoy is part of the initiative to revise the Bankruptcy Clerk’s Manual, has contributed to the development of a web-based automated training program to help staff understand the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, serves as the court’s representative on the circuit’s Rent Cap/Control Committee, and is the current chair of the Eighth Circuit Internal Controls Committee. He has improved service to the bar and public through cross-training of the entire staff, the development of a pro se informational website and manual, and has surveyed customers to identify areas for improvement. He prepared and implemented the district’s first Continuity Of Operations Plan, launched an initiative to continually improve current operational processes and procedures, and implemented a performance evaluation tool that measures employees’ contributions and goals to personalize training and career development.   

Director’s Award for Excellence in Court Operations

The Director’s Award for Excellence in Court Operations is divided into the categories of excellence in court administration, in court technology, in court support, and in mission requirements. Recipients of this award have helped the Judiciary operate with economy and efficiency, have improved federal court service through innovations, or have enhanced the public’s awareness of the Judiciary or its image.

Andrew F. Bach

Andrew F. Bach, Systems Manager for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, received his award in the area of court technology. He is described by court colleagues he has helped over the years as the first person they contact when there is a programming problem. In their words, he is “eager to help,” “technically savvy,” “immediately responsive,” and a man who “never met a software program, platform, or system that he could not master.” He admits, however, to being a little daunted by VMS. He is happy to be able to share his programming skills with court IT professionals across the country, and the result has been many improvements in information management technology and court applications for the Judiciary.

George W. Hoggan

George W. Hoggan, Information Systems Manager for the U.S. Probation Office, Southern District of California, also received his award in the area of court technology. He led the development of the Document Imaging Module (PDIM) within the Probation and Pretrial Services Automated Case Tracking System/Electronic Case Management System. PDIM creates an electronic case file that is available anytime, from any office or remote location, and from which documents can be easily submitted to the Department of Justice and the U.S. Sentencing Commission. PDIM is a time and money saver.

Kathleen L. Peek

Kathleen L. Peek, Assistant Circuit Executive, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, received her award in the area of court administration for her work as a member of the Circuit Rent Budget Working Group. The CRB Working Group developed an allotment formula and an implementation plan for rent growth. As a member of the group, Peek integrated a knowledge of the workings of the General Services Administration and the Third Circuit Judicial Council with practical experience in the financial management of the Third Circuit’s space and facilities accounts and the procurement, budget call, and space acquisition process. She distinguished herself as a consensus-builder and a problem solver.

Director’s Award for Extraordinary Actions

The Director’s Award for Extraordinary Actions is given to a Judiciary employee who has exhibited bravery and concern for others in the face of adverse conditions, displayed creativity and resourcefulness in a critical situation, or ensured that the Judiciary’s mission is met during an emergency.

Doug Burris

Greg Forest

Chief U.S. Probation Officer Doug Burris, Eastern District of Missouri, and Chief U.S. Probation Officer Greg Forest, Western District of North Carolina, share the 2008 award for the planning and hosting of “crack summits” in Charlotte, North Carolina on January 17-18, and in St. Louis, Missouri, on January 24-25, 2008. Within weeks of the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s vote to amend retroactively the sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine offenses, the district courts had to prepare for an influx of 20,000 retroactivity cases. The crack summits, which drew more than 600 judges, prosecutors, defenders, clerks, and probation officers, brought all stakeholders to the table to establish local processes for retroactivity cases that would permit districts to plan and allocate their resources in sensible and efficient ways. Burris and Forest exhibited vision and judgment, leadership and consideration of others, and creativity and resourcefulness in their planning and organization. Both crack summits were unqualified successes and played an essential role in ensuring the Judiciary’s ability to meet the many challenges imposed by retroactivity.