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SJC Task Force Issues Action Plan for Hiring & Promotion of Trial Court Administrative Employees

Friday, September 9th, 2011
By Scott Harshbarger

The Supreme Judicial Court has reviewed the recommendations presented in the "Action Plan for Hiring and Promotion of Trial Court Administrative Employees" recently delivered to the Court by the SJC's Task Force for Hiring in the Judicial Branch, led by former Attorney General Scott Harshbarger. This is the fourth report in a series of comprehensive Task Force reviews of hiring and promotion practices in the Judicial Branch. Last December, the Justices charged the Task Force "to make recommendations designed to ensure a fair system with transparent procedures in which the qualifications of an applicant are the sole criterion on hiring and promotion" in the Probation Department and throughout the Trial Court.



"We commend the dedicated efforts of the Task Force and the insightful blueprint it provides to reconfigure the hiring, evaluation and promotional systems of the Trial Court. Broadening the role and capacity of the human resources department will be a key priority of the new Office of Court Management headed by the Court Administrator," said Chief Justice Roderick L. Ireland. "This report highlights that despite fiscal challenges we need to implement modern approaches that will allow us to recruit, retain, evaluate, and promote talented men and women who seek to serve in the judicial system."



The Task Force recommends a robust and expanded human resources responsibility in the Administrative Office of the Trial Court and Trial Court departments that will redefine recruitment, hiring and promotion practices, establish an employee performance review system, conduct trainings for evaluators and interviewers, and assist in updating mission statements and job competencies in an effort to address increasingly complex challenges in an evolving Trial Court management structure. The Action Plan outlines specific tasks for an expanded human resources function within the Trial Court.



"As we implement court reforms, we must enhance our personnel infrastructure to ensure that administrative excellence and transparent, merit-based hiring and promotion are the norm across the court system," said Chief Justice for Administration & Management Robert A. Mulligan. "A working group that draws on the expertise of the Trial Court's Human Resources senior managers, other court leaders and external stakeholders soon will begin an evaluation of the changes needed to the Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual to allow implementation of the Task Force recommendations."



The Task Force members will continue to work on their mandate given by the Supreme Judicial Court by undertaking reviews of the remaining parts of the judiciary while continuing to monitor the transformation of probation. Prior to the latest report on administrative employees, the Task Force issued an action plan for hiring and promotion of court officers and associate court officers. The Task Force members are Scott Harshbarger, Chair; Randy Chapman, Stephen Crosby, Kathleen Dennehy, Kathleen Donovan, Ruth Ellen Fitch, Michael Keating, Hon. James McHugh, Harry Spence, and Steven Wright.

For the full text of this article click here.



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