Hon. Dale Sandstrom, Supreme Court Justice, Chair
Hon. Joel Medd, Judge - Northeast Judicial District
Hon. Frank Racek, Judge - East Central Judicial District
Rita Fischer, Deputy Clerk of Court - McKenzie County
Becky Absey, Clerk of District Court - Grand Forks County
Hon. Daniel Narum, Judge - Southeast Judicial District
Donna Wunderlich, District Court Administrator - Unit 3
Hon. William Herauf, Judge - Southwest Judicial District
Sally Holewa, State Court Administrator
Lee Ann Barnhardt, Director of Education & Communication
Hon. Doug Mattson, Judge - Northwest Judicial District
Penny Miller, Clerk of Supreme Court
Chris Iverson, Trial Court Manager - Unit 2
Samantha Martin, Tyler Technologies
Larry Zubke, Director of Technology
The meeting was called to order by Chair Sandstrom.
Approval of Minutes from December 2, 2011 Meeting
Judge Medd moved to approve the December 2, 2011 meeting minutes. Judge Herauf seconded the motion and the motion carried.
Odyssey User Group Update
Chris Iverson updated the committee on the bond report. She stated Larry Zubke sent a letter out to bond companies offering an automatic report to show exonerated bonds. Cammie Schock set up the report to run every week day. So far 15 bond companies have signed up. Larry reported he had sent out roughly 65 letters. Chris continued with an update on File & Serve codes. She stated there were many changes made to improve our process but we will be reviewing the codes one more time to make sure everything is correct. We have developed a security guideline that has been posted on the SharePoint site. This gives an overview of both internal court users and external users who have Secure Public Access. The guideline shows who has access to certain case types, document types and security groups. Chris reported the first post was made on the SharePoint site to the general user discussion board. She stated there will be an article in the next Docket describing in more details how users can access the site and how to get information.
Chris moved on to discuss current projects the group is working on. She stated the clerks are reviewing the Odyssey business decisions document, which is an online reference guide for Odyssey users. They will be reorganizing the document as well as making sure the content is up-to-date. They are also working on a reference document for attorneys with regard to the proper event codes to use. The group is also working on updating the e-filing guide. Probate case types are being reviewed to see if there are unnecessary types that could be eliminated. The group has also started a general discussion on file stamping requirements to eliminate some of the need for clerks to print, stamp and rescan documents. Additionally, they have started discussing modifications to the sentencing screen and the way confinement information is entered. Judge Racek stated this screen affects how cases are processed in SessionWorks.
Justice Sandstrom proposed to the group to have Mike Hagburg sit in with the group due to numerous discussions and questions on how various rules interrelate with Odyssey practices. The committee agreed.
Justice Sandstrom moved on to discuss issues raised by the Joint Procedures Committee. The first was in regards to giving notice to the parties when judgments are entered. Currently, we cannot generate a specific event to trigger a notice to a specific party. Larry believes it is going to be available in the 2012 release of Odyssey. Judge Racek explained a current functionality within Odyssey where attorneys, for example, can sign up to receive an automated report on specific events. Samantha will find out the details of providing notices to parties and forward them to Larry. Donna stated they are working on a recommended list of reports to distribute statewide. Justice Sandstrom explained the second issue raised. When the notice of entry of judgment is served they do not want to put a second entry of the judgment on the case.
Judge Racek commented on additional reports they are using that may be of interest. He stated there are outside agencies wanting a report on alcohol evaluations, for example. In the past, they would send them a copy of the judgment and any other pertinent information. Now the clerk's office is able to automatically generate and email a report to these agencies and with limited Secure Public access the agency can look up the individual case information.
Justice Sandstrom explained the User Groups SharePoint site has the ability to send you an email daily or weekly that keeps you updated on the specific issues and allows you to comment on them if desired.
Work in Progress
New statewide IVR system
Larry stated we now have connectivity between Tyler's IVR server and ND Odyssey test server. We also have a 1-800 number that we have been using for testing. We are comparing the voice prompts within the current IVR system in Cass with this new system and documenting any changes we want Tyler to make to the new system. He indicated we would soon be piloting the system in Burleigh County. Larry explained the system is restricted to pay traffic fines only at this point. Justice Sandstrom stated the benefit is that it does not require human intervention on the court's side. He inquired into the length of time an individual has to wait before they can pay through the IVR system. Larry stated it would probably be 1-2 days if it is an electronic citation, potentially 3 days if it happens on the weekend and if it is a manual citation it would depend on the clerk entering the citation. Justice Sandstrom stated stickers will be placed on the citations with the information on the available methods of payments. Eventually the information will be printed directly on the citation. Judge Medd asked if there were any fees associated with using the system. Larry explained that with the system currently being used in Cass we are paying for a T1 network line. With the new system, Tyler will provide us with this service and charge us by the minute. Larry stated his initial analysis shows we will be money ahead in using the Tyler system. We will continue to absorb the cost of the credit card fees. Larry would like to see the system up and running in 6 weeks in Burleigh County.
Larry stated there is an incredible amount of differences in the attorney party records. For example, one may or may not have a bar id, may or may not have a name, if there is a name it may be incorrect and so forth. With Tyler's assistance we continue to systematically correct the records. After exhausting systematic resources, we will need to fix the remaining records manually. Once this is cleaned up, an additional merge will be run. The attorney party records will then be updated through an integration with the bar association. Larry stated moving forward this will no longer be an issue.
File & Serve
Larry stated there were several follow up issues from the last meeting including the slowness of the system and documents not coming over to Odyssey. Tyler has assigned two full time people to monitor the queue. They have set a threshold of 10 minutes. If the document has not made it into Odyssey within this timeframe they will pick it up and manually push it through. Larry explained he receives a report every 2 weeks. He said we process between 3500 to 5000 transactions a week. The report breaks down the number of documents processed within 0-30 seconds, 30 seconds - 1 minute, 2-3 minutes, 2-5 minutes and so forth ending with 8 hours+. Larry stated he would like to see everything come over in 10 minutes or less. He would eventually like to see everything in less than a minute however 10 minutes seems like a logical threshold at this time.
Larry further explained that he does have the ability to obtain reports on the number of filings per county, as well as, the number of filings per law firm. Judge Racek questioned if there were more problems filing initial cases versus subsequent. Larry believes there are more issues with initiating cases through File & Serve. Larry suggested the development of a reference guide for attorney firms to help them file more efficiently. He said there are discrepancies between counties as far as which events to use which makes it confusing for the attorneys. Sally Holewa and Justice Sandstrom agreed that we need consistency across the state. Sally suggested that once the reference guide is complete, there should be an educational session for the attorney's through the bar association.
Larry stated there is a new release of File & Serve coming. It is more of a web based system and we will be receiving a demo soon. We will be looking at taking this release this summer. We are currently on version 2.4 and we would be going to version 3.2.
Judge Racek indicated he would like to set a goal for all subsequent civil filings to be submitted through e-filing. Judge Herauf agrees that we should move forward. Becky Absey indicated in her office there are about 15 law firms that are not e-filing. Three of those firms have a large volume of files coming in. She agrees that we should move forward and that it would have a great impact on her office to get those firms on board. Samantha Martin stated the new release of File & Serve 3.2 has a template option that will make filing for these firms much quicker.
Judge Racek suggested a date of October 1st for mandating e-filing of all subsequent civil filings. Sally inquired if we needed an administrative order from the Supreme Court. Justice Sandstrom stated we would need to make a recommendation to the Court.
Judge Racek moved to make a recommendation to the Supreme Court to mandate e-filing statewide for all subsequent civil filings effective October 1st 2012. Judge Narum seconded the motion and the motion carried.
Larry questioned if 10 minutes is an appropriate maximum amount of time to wait for documents to appear in Odyssey once accepted in the Review Tool. Becky Absey stated that it may not be reasonable in the event there is a mental health filing late in the day.
Larry mentioned we have started working on an Odyssey training plan for all users beginning with the clerks. A day-long focus group session was held with clerks from around the state to identify the training needs. He stated the intent is to create recorded GoTo Training sessions that will be available for them to view at their leisure. There is the ability to track who has attended the sessions along with tests to gauge the effectiveness. Lee Ann stated Kim is working on testing the software along with some of Donna's staff. She said they will be meeting March 22nd with the administrators and some of the IT staff to identify faculty and topics. The goal is to have a training calendar available by June. She said she is hoping to use the intranet site as a gateway to the training library. After the clerks are familiar with the system we will begin training sessions for judges.
Judge Racek also expressed the importance of training judges how to report the issues they may be experiencing. He also stated the court administrators need to be able to identify the proper process for solving the issues. Judge Herauf expressed his concern about not knowing enough about Odyssey to make it efficient for their processes. Judge Narum also stated he would like to start developing a process for communication and consistency among offices in his district with Chris Iverson.
Judge Racek moved on to discuss their struggles with SessionWorks. He stated it is not 100% reliable at this time. For example, he had 69 cases one morning and 10 of them did not transfer to Odyssey. He also mentioned that many times they will transfer the cases at 10:00 am but they won't populate in Odyssey until 2:00 pm. Additionally, he said SessionWorks requires a lot of manual calculations and duplication of effort. He also stated the judgment that is generated is a report and not a form that can be manipulated. Items are hard coded that don't necessarily apply to all cases. Becky Absey stated that Grand Forks has been successfully using SessionWorks since they went live with Odyssey. She stated additional reports can be set up. Larry and Judge Racek agreed to meet and discuss the issues that he is seeing in Cass County and work out acceptable solutions. Larry also stated there is a meeting scheduled with the product owner where concerns can be addressed as well.
Business Analyst Position
Larry reported that up to this point he has had four Programmer Analyst positions on his staff. Two of those positions have been open since last fall. He's asked to convert one of the positions to a Business Analyst position. He stated that the major systems are now off the shelf systems which have diminished the need for programmers however the workload has not diminished. He stated that off the shelf systems require a lot of interaction between the users, vendors and the IT staff. He said a Business Analyst position would be very useful going forward. Justice Sandstrom stated this is not unique to the courts and that many entities utilize them. Larry said the Personnel Policy Board and Supreme Court have approved the request and he is now in the process of posting the position.
Spring Power Outage
Larry reported last meeting that they were going to move their equipment. He stated that was completed on February 4th. He said it was moved from DOT to a brand new room that was created outside the ITD computer room in the J-wing. It was built specifically for agencies that cannot have their equipment in ITD's computer room for various reasons such as HIPPA violations. He said at the same time they incorporated a new power feed that is coming into the capitol complex to eliminate the problem we had last January where there was a complete power outage. He stated the room is connected to both the new and old power feeds. On May 12th, they will be redoing the old feed to eliminate the old transformer and put it on a separate circuit. He said some of our equipment may go down. He explained that most of our servers have dual power supplies and the only ones that might go down are the ones that have only a single feed. He stated he will know more at the next meeting in regards to which systems it will affect.
2013-2015 IT Budget
Larry reported he has started working on the 2013-2015 budget and asks anyone who has any unique needs in the next biennium to contact him as soon as possible. He stated his requirement is to have the preliminary budget approved by this group in the June timeframe and then submitted to OMB and ITD in July. Larry stated that Penny has already made him aware of the need for a new Supreme Court case management system.
Sally stated Kyle Snowden from Tyler Technologies has been trying to set up a meeting regarding SessionWorks for Judges as well as their juvenile case management system. She stated we could budget for the judge's module however for the juvenile case management system she would like to see sufficient funding and time to do an RFI. She would like to bring somebody in to do some analysis on whether it's more cost effective to interface our current system and check the functionality.
For the Good of the Order
Judge Narum questioned the judgment form Cass County was using and wondered why it was such a different format. Judge Racek stated Cass is piloting this new judgment form which is supposed to be compatible with SessionWorks. Sally stated if it is a successful pilot the form would go through the approval process to be rolled out statewide. She said the benefit of this form is that it's easier to read and that it incorporates all counts. Larry stated there are a few changes that have been requested on the form. Once those changes have been done, we'll need to build a similar one to be used with SessionWorks. Becky Absey inquired if the new form accommodates felony sentencings. Judge Racek said that it is supposed to but there is more complexity with felony sentences due to the calculations that are involved and they are still working through the process.
The meeting was adjourned by Justice Sandstrom. The next meeting is scheduled for April 27th, 2012.