2015 Director’s Awards Honor Court Employees
The Director’s Awards, given by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, recognize the outstanding leadership and excellence in court operations of federal court employees nationwide.
The Director’s Award for Outstanding Leadership
This award recognizes managerial-level employees who demonstrate exemplary stewardship of court resources, while advancing programs with a nationwide impact that improved service to the public. The 2015 recipients are:
Bankruptcy Clerk of Court Lee Ann Bennett, Middle District of Florida (Orlando) is the current President of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Clerks, and serves as the Clerk representative to the Judicial Conference Committee on the Administration of the Bankruptcy System. She has served on numerous advisory groups and committees studying such key issues for the Judiciary as shared administrative services, work measurement, and customer service.
As bankruptcy clerk of court in the Middle District of Florida, she has shown exemplary stewardship of resources by meeting space reduction goals and reducing noticing costs and embracing technology to save the courts money. She has promoted workforce productivity while improving service to the public, working with local bar associations to assist pro se filers in each division through the creation of needed legal clinics.
Chief Probation Officer Melissa Alexander, Middle District of North Carolina (Greensboro) is recognized for her work in the Middle District of North Carolina in the implementation of evidence-based practices in the national probation and pretrial services system. She has worked closely with the Administrative Office, sharing the district’s experience with field application of the evidence-based blueprint, and developing a partnership with the National Implementation Research Network to assist those efforts.
She has actively promoted understanding and advancement of risk assessment instruments and core correctional practices through presentations to federal judges, federal public defenders, and law enforcement. In addition she inaugurated a number of cost savings strategies, innovations, and expenditures reductions that allowed the probation office to accomplish its mission while reducing revocation rates and improving services.
The Director’s Awards for Excellence in Court Operations
This award recognize employees who have contributed to excellence in operating with economy and efficiency, in provided innovations that improve service, or in establishing community outreach programs or enhancing the public’s awareness of the federal Judiciary. The 2015 recipients are:
Christopher Newton, Information Technology Manager, District of Connecticut (New Haven) received the award for initiatives that successfully revamped the district’s information technology program, improving security, replacing outmoded facilities and upgrading software.
Under his direction the district introduced high-tech courtrooms, reduced its server footprint, implemented a new public website and a wireless access pilot program for attorneys in court space, and converted an outdated telephone system to the National IPT system, in addition to other IT projects that saved money and improved service to the court family and the public.
The National e-Voucher Team (Las Vegas, NV, San Diego, CA) developed the Judiciary’s Criminal Justice Act e-Voucher system, which vastly improves financial management of CJA cases. E-Voucher enables the electronic submission, management and approval of CJA vouchers and includes extensive reporting capabilities. It is now deployed to 100 court units with full Judiciary-wide deployment anticipated by the end of 2015.
Team members are Clerk of Court Lance Wilson, Chief Deputy Clerk Cynthia Jensen, Director of Special Projects Vincente Angotti, and Systems Administrators Thomas Pyle and Guillermo Rojas, District Court of Nevada; Senior Software Developer Vaidehi Prabhakaran, District Court for the Southern District of California.
The Case Management Assist (CMA) Team for the Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Oklahoma (Oklahoma City). The team developed CMA, now used by 37 bankruptcy courts and two district courts with other courts in the implementation stage. CMA works alongside the Case Management/Electronic Case Files System to distribute, organize, prioritize, and assign work for a case administrator, among other capabilities. Financial officers also may use it to monitor payments due and judges and clerks may use it to remain current on court filings.
Team members are IT Manager Scott Bellingham, Administrative Support Analyst Annamarie Cooper, Automation Supervisor Ronn Folk, Bankruptcy Clerk of Court Grant Price, Chief Deputy Bankruptcy Clerk of Court Sheila Sewell, Operations Manager Penny Wallis.
The Judiciary’s Service Validation Initiative Team. Ninth Circuit ACE for Space and Facilities Clifford Harlan (San Francisco), Fifth Circuit Architect/Project Manager Dave Carlson (New Orleans, LA), and Chief Deputy Clerk John Domurad in the Northern District of New York (Albany, NY), represents an unprecedented collaboration between the federal courts and the General Services Administration aimed at maximizing the efficiency and improving the overall quality of services the courts receive from GSA.
The team identified the means and methods to enhance the Judiciary’s ability to clarify and make more transparent and accurate the process by which GSA develops overtime utilities estimates for tenants. Their efforts already have generated concrete recommendations that will improve court support on a national level for years to come.
Chief Probation Officer Edward Scott Chinn, Probation Office, District of Connecticut (New Haven). Thanks to Chinn’s foresight and planning, the Probation Office successfully weathered sequestration cutbacks and downsizing to office personnel. His innovations have allowed the office to maximize treatment dollar and the district’s law enforcement allocation.
At the request of Judge Stefan R. Underhill, Chinn created a “support court” for offenders under supervision, which is coordinated with Judge Underhill, the US. Attorney’s Office, the Federal Public Defender’s Office, and the U.S. Marshals Service. Thanks to the program, and other innovations initiated by Chinn, the district’s re-arrest and revocation rates are now well below the national rates. His leadership has facilitated the fair administration of justice and made a positive difference in the lives of those under supervision in the district.
Related Topics: Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts