May 01, 2017

A Typical Week of a City Presiding Judge Outside the Courtroom

By Judge Elizabeth R. Finn


Hmmm, what is on my calendar for this week? I know the number one item is to update my résumé and application for my reappointment. It is due on Friday! There is a Court Management Team meeting on Tuesday, swearing-in of a reelected councilmember Tuesday night, a regular city manager meeting Wednesday morning, mental health court Wednesday afternoon, and swearing-in of the new chief of police on Thursday.

The résumé from two years ago just needs to be updated with what is new. As I am editing, my court administrator comes to talk about a problem with an employee. We strategize how we can address the attitude she is displaying, which is causing issues with other employees. An impromptu meeting follows with her supervisor. She agrees with our approach. We call in the employee and try to provide a positive approach in our conversation with her. Afterward, I remind her supervisor to document our conversation.

I then meet with a fairly new secretary. I ask her, “where are we with the request for proposals for our mandatory counseling for people convicted of driving while under the influence and domestic violence?” She says she is having trouble receiving a clear answer from the Procurement Office. I advise her to try again and let me know if she is not successful. The current provider’s contract expires in April, but we can continue month to month if necessary.

Okay, where was I? Oh, my reappointment. I am going through the monthly executive summaries and my calendar to identify what needs to be added to my application. Because my attention was already diverted from the reappointment application, I read some email. City management two weeks ago allowed us to exceed our line item for public defenders. Mental health court has too many defendants for the court to only be held every other week. We need to have it occur weekly. The city attorney and I worked with city management to secure a half-contract prosecutor and half-contract public defender to cover this expansion. The good news is the posting for the public defender recruitment has closed and we have good candidates. I print their résumés and consult with the other judges. They agree on the individuals I suggested to interview. I will have the secretary set the interviews for this week.

Back to the application. Oh, I have a meeting so this will wait until later.

After the meeting, I sit down at my computer to work on my application again. I actually get a lot done in between reading emails.

At home, I try working on my reappointment application. I just cannot concentrate so I finish reading my email and review some progress reports for mental health court.

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