Members Participating: Hon. Dale Sandstrom, Supreme Court Justice, Chair Hon. Joel Medd, Judge – Northeast Central Judicial District Hon. Frank Racek, Judge – East Central Judicial District Sally Holewa, State Court Administrator Lee Ann Barnhardt, Director of Education & Communication Rita Fischer, Deputy Clerk of Court - McKenzie County Donna Wunderlich, District Court Administrator - Unit 3 Becky Absey, Clerk of District Court - Grand Forks County Hon. William Herauf, Judge – Southwest Judicial District Hon. Doug Mattson, Judge – Northwest Judicial District Penny Miller, Clerk of Supreme Court
Members Absent: Hon. Daniel Narum, Judge – Southeast Judicial District
Guests: Hon. Allen Schmalenberger, District Judge Jim Gienger, Project Manager for UCIS Replacement Project Rod Olson, District Court Administrator - Unit 2 Chris Iverson, Trial Court Manager - Unit 2 Deb Simenson, Clerk of District Court – Burleigh County Susan Hoffer, Clerk of District Court – Ward County Wanda Knutson, Clerk of District Court - Mercer County Brandi Fagerland, ITD Project Oversight Manager Kristen Wheeler, Tyler Technology Ronnie Everett, Tyler Technology Tom Bartell, Tyler Technology
Staff: Larry Zubke, Director of Technology Cammie Schock, Technology Coordinator
The meeting was called to order by Chair Sandstrom.
Approval of Minutes from April, 29 2011 Meeting
Donna Wunderlich moved to approve the April 29, 2011 meeting minutes. Judge Mattson
seconded the motion and the motion carried.
Status of Phase 4 Jim Gienger stated we are officially done with the implementation of Odyssey statewide. This
includes all of the district courts and about a dozen municipals. He reported that since the last
time we met we have gone live with units 3 and 4 and have also completed month-end training;
in addition the courts have completed a month-end process on their own. Advanced forms
training was delivered which included discussions on a naming convention, document
management, change requests and so forth. Additional training will be ongoing.
Jim stated municipal courts are doing well and there is a training session planned for the
Variance Report Jim explained the variance report is as of the end of May and there are a few things still missing.
He does not have the travel expenses from Tyler for their May travel to North Dakota. There are
also some miscellaneous expenses still pending. Jim expects to receive this from Finance soon.
Jim stated the project will come in at less than 1% ahead of schedule. Costs will be right around
6% under budget. The final reports will be submitted to ITD mid-July. A close out report and
post implementation report will also be completed. Jim reported that transition planning has
E-Filing Jim reported that e-filing has been rolled out statewide. We are also focused on upgrading the e-filing system to the Tyler mainstream product. Jim explained that the product we are running
was a customization effort by Wiznet. Since acquiring the company, Tyler has been in the
process of building their own product based off of Wiznet. E-file & Serve 2.4 is the first version
of this product and we are currently in the testing stages. Demos have been delivered to IT staff,
clerks and administrators across the state. Testing will occur through the end of next week
followed by training for the clerks statewide on the additional functionality provided. If all goes
well we will go-live on June 20th. Justice Sandstrom stated the reasons for doing this is because
it will be a standard product that Tyler will be advancing. Jim stated the goal is to get to File &
Serve product 3.0. Tyler has 3.0 in pilot mode with another client which is going well. File &
Serve 3.0 is a complete rewrite of the product and is much more web based. Jim stated the
clerks will no longer have to sign into the review tool which is installed on their pc; they will go
directly to a website.
Larry Zubke reported there are 163 trained law offices and 42 trained state agencies for File &
Municipal Courts Jim Gienger reported the municipal courts have requested judge training. Jim suspects they may
start asking for additional functionality to become available to them such as credit cards, web
payments and e-signatures. Today we are not allowing that primarily because the court is
picking up the transaction fees associated with credit cards which we probably would not do for
municipals. The City of Fargo is continuing to work toward converting to Odyssey. They have
chosen to work directly with Tyler to convert their data. They currently are not on UCIS, but are
using a different system. Tyler is providing a consulting role and the Fargo IT staff will be
doing the conversion. Jim anticipates this to take more time than the City has previously
planned before they will be able to go live. We will be working with them to review
configuration and data along with forms, financial accounts and so forth. Although they want to
go-live this summer, it is anticipated that it will be sometime this fall, at the earliest.
IVR Payments Jim stated we currently use a 3rd party Interactive Voice Response (IVR) product called Sonant
in Cass County. Tyler has developed a replacement product with similar functionality and
incorporated it into their 2011.6 release. North Dakota plans to install this release and begin
using it statewide as soon as possible. Jim explained there are additional things that will need to
be addressed such as a new 800 number and so forth. He stated we would probably pilot it in
Burleigh County first and then roll it out statewide. This product gives us the ability to take
payments on more than just traffic cases. We will start with traffic cases and enhance through
customization and script updates to accept payments on other criminal cases. Justice Sandstrom
inquired into municipal courts wanting the functionality and if the merchant fees were the
biggest concern. Jim stated there are getting to be more and more requests and that at this point
due to time constraints we have been unable to look further into this. The municipals have been
instructed to take payments as they are today. Judge Mattson inquired into the process of
charging the 3% fee for taking credit card payments. Sally stated it currently comes out of the
general fund. Justice Sandstrom stated it would cost more than 3% if we had to use enforcement
efforts to collect it. Sally stated that we collected $65,000 via credit card payments last month
and the total surcharge was $2300.
Attorney Web Access Larry Zubke stated we have 348 attorneys signed up for Secure Public Access and more than
double that for state agencies. Jim stated there is now the ability to search which attorneys have
signed up and are available for e-service. Penny inquired into the process of attorney’s
accepting service and it being only applicable in the District Court and not Supreme Court.
Penny stated that their electronic filing order indicates that if the attorney has an email address
on file with the board of law examiners they can be served with Supreme Court documents.
Sally read the language from the form, which is: “This page contains a list of lawyers who have
signed up for the electronic filing system offered by the North Dakota Court.” Penny suggested
it should be changed to read “North Dakota District Court”. Larry will make this change.
Other Tom Bartel, from Tyler Technologies, stated that Tyler is very pleased with how the
implementation has gone. He said Tyler will continue to work with us as we roll out other
Brandi Fagerland reported that this will be her last meeting. She will be working on some final
documentation with Jim Gienger. She encouraged us to work on the transition plan to move
forward in a positive manner. Justice Sandstrom thanked Brandi for her assistance and
suggestions. He also acknowledged Jim Gienger for his outstanding project management. He
thanked Judge Schmalenberger for chairing the Ops group for the implementation. He went on
to thank Sally Holewa, Larry Zubke and his staff as well as Tyler Technologies. Judge
Schmalenberger also thanked Jim for his work on keeping this project on time and under budget.
Judge Medd inquired into the status of the ongoing issue with electronically signing documents
and the Case Summary link not working. Jim stated he was not familiar with the issue. He said
that one of the things we would have to deal with on a continual basis is figuring out when to
take new patches to fix these types of issues. Jim continued by saying we want to keep Odyssey
on its current patch level in order to take release 2011.6 which has the other functionality we
have been waiting for. He stated that this particular problem may not be resolved, but we should
check to see if the problem still exists in 2011.6. Larry stated that he was aware of the problem
and that there was an Onyx ticket opened for the issue and it is fixed in the 2011.6 release
however he was unaware if it is fixed in the current release. He will follow up on this issue.
Discuss Odyssey Project Transition Plan Sally reported that the Operations Oversight Group is scheduled to continue through the end of
August. She suggested that the group continue to meet until an agreement has been made on a
successor group and that is put in place. She then reviewed the key points of the draft transition
plan, which includes Judge Racek’s comments.
Section 1 covers governance and management. The first key point is that the need for
governance and management is not going to go away. She stated that there are two types of
decision making involved. The first is setting the priorities and goals of the organization and
resolving obstacles to move forward. She believes that policy setting and budget decisions need
to be at a Supreme Court committee level. The second is that weekly decisions need to be made
with regard to the business processes. This needs to be actively managed so questions can be
answered and issues resolved quickly. She said the current User group meets for 2 hours every
two weeks. She said that she believes that the Court Technology Committee should retain the
policy oversight role but there is also a need to have a standing workgroup to make operating
decisions on a timely basis.
Section 2 covers vendor relationship management. She stated we would need to continue to
have direct ongoing contact with Tyler Technologies. Sally’s proposal is to have the Director of
Technology be this liaison. Justice Sandstrom stated that Tyler Technologies would have a
project manager on their side as well. Larry stated that Tyler will assign a Strategic Account
Manager (SAM). Jim Gienger reported closer to the end of the month that person will be
assigned. Tom Bartel added that Ronnie Everett, Kristen Wheeler and himself would like to
maintain some level of contact on an ongoing basis, whether that is quarterly or monthly, on
what activities we have going on and if there may be something they can assist with.
Section 3 covers problem management. She stated one of the things currently being done is
periodically monitoring Onyx tickets and determining when they may need individual attention
or escalation. Sally proposed that the Director of Technology put in place a routine process for
reviewing those tickets and what happens if we notice items that need to be reprioritized. Jim
suggested that “managing” the tickets would be a better description than “monitoring”.
Section 4 covers release management. The key point here is that someone needs to be looking at
the releases and deciding if it is something we want or need and how soon to implement. This is
currently being done by the Director of Technology, in consultation with our project manager
and Tyler’s project manager. She suggested that this continue under the scope of the Director of
Technology. She also suggested that we continue to use the Tech Coordinators and clerks to test
the business functionality. She stated that it will be important that designated testers follow the
schedule and procedures set forth by the Director of Technology. Larry Zubke stated that up to
this point we have taken releases very quickly in order to keep the project on schedule.
Sometimes this introduces problems unexpectedly. He said that moving forward we want to
have a much better testing plan and take releases much slower. Donna Wunderlich inquired into
how the proposed release management compares to what is currently done today. Larry stated
that we have not always had the time to thoroughly test. He said we are currently designing a
test plan that goes through every project, custom business rule, Onyx ticket and business
Section 4 also covers documentation. This includes user guides, online documents, videos and
so forth. She stated that prior to Odyssey there was a clerk’s manual that talked about large
picture oversight and then a UCIS manual which covered the data entry needed to perform the
task. With Odyssey we have been combining both aspects into a single document. Sally
suggested that we continue to do this and that it will require the User Group and the IT staff
working together in drafting and reviewing the documentation. Another key component is to
keep the documentation up-to-date. Sally suggested that the documentation should be reviewed
in two year cycles.
Section 5 covers training. Training will be an on-going need for both experienced and new
users. Sally suggested that we establish an annual training schedule, with an open registration
format, published every December. In addition, we will need to do spot training for new
functionality or when a specific issue is identified. She stated that some of this training could be
incorporated into the annual conferences. LeAnn Barnhardt, Director of Education, agreed with
Sally and stated they control dates, times and locations of training. She would like to see this
annual training schedule coordinated with the dates and times as not to conflict with other
training, as well as, being able to piggy back on other training sessions offered. Penny inquired
if the attorney e-filing training would be included in this schedule. Larry stated he did not
believe so and that the current schedule for holding training every Friday would continue as long
as there is demand. Becky Absey inquired if the end users in the larger counties would be
included. Sally stated that with the open sessions anyone would be able to sign up. Justice
Sandstrom stated that unlike in UCIS the judges are also end users and will need to be included
as well. Judge Mattson inquired into the budget and if any additional FTE’s would be needed.
Sally stated that no additional FTE’s would be needed and the Technology Coordinators would
assist with the training. She also hopes that others in the field will step forward and serve as
faculty. Justice Sandstrom stated that LeAnn and Kim could help with input on learning
techniques for the Tech Coordinators. LeAnn stated that they would continue to offer the faculty
development program. There will be one held this March and they have targeted the Tech
Coordinators along with others to attend.
Sally moved on to discuss the Odyssey User Group Charter. Judge Racek suggested adding the
actual goals. Sally explained the reason for the goals is to provide the user group with direction
and guidance for decision making. Judge Racek stated that his purpose for advocating for the
goals is that it focuses more on the human aspect rather than the technical aspect. He stated the
goals would give focus to the end users and User Group as to what they are trying to achieve.
Judge Racek stated he would like to add to the definition of Best Practices to read “Best
Practices are defined as those business practices best utilizing Odyssey and court personnel to
reach the stated goals.” Justice Sandstrom asked for any objections to updating the definition.
There were none. Justice Sandstrom then asked for any objections to adding the goals into the
charter. Judge Matson inquired into whether this charter would be a working document that
could be modified down the road. Justice Sandstrom stated that was correct. No objections were
Sally continued on to discuss the make-up of the user group. She included in the group 1
assistant trial court administrator, 2 trial court judges, 1 court reporter or recorder, 1 juvenile
court officer, 4 clerks of court one of whom must be the current president of the North Dakota
Clerk’s Association, one contract clerk, one state-employed clerk I and one state-employed clerk
II. Justice Sandstrom stated that the Supreme Court should be represented as well since they are
a significant user of the product. Penny agreed and stated that business practices have been
implemented in the clerks’ offices that impacts the business of her office of which they have had
no input. She would like to see a member or ex-officio member have the input at the lower level
rather than at the Court Technology Committee level. Sally agreed that they should be added
and will amend the charter to include them.
Judge Racek commented on when picking the membership it is important to have at least one
supervisor from each unit. Justice Sandstrom asked for any objections to adding the Supreme
Court Clerk or designee to the group along with a Justice or staff member. There were no
objections. Donna had a concern that there may be important points missed when leaving out so
many clerks. Sally stated that each group has representation and that representative is
responsible for passing along information and gathering input. Sally’s concern with adding
more members was that you might have strong personalities who control the group and others
that sit back. Jim Gienger questioned how the municipal courts would bring forth information to
this group. LeAnn stated the municipal clerks from the larger cities are members of the North
Dakota Clerks Association and if the president is a member they can funnel their concerns and
comments through that person.
Judge Mattson asked why an assistant trial court administrator is needed as they do not have one
in Unit 4. He asked if it could be a Trial Court Administrator or designee. Sally stated she has a
Trial Court Admin as an Ex-Officio. She stated she did not want the Trial Court Administrators
running the day to day business of the clerks and Odyssey system. They are hired to work on
policy and unit wide issues as well as the business end of the court. She stated it would be good
to have one out of the four paying attention and keeping the other three apprised of what is going
on but would rather not see them tied up in the day to day business.
Sally was anticipating adding Jim Ganje to the group and asked if anyone thought otherwise.
Justice Sandstrom agreed that having a staff attorney as a part of the group would be beneficial.
Sally suggested the appointments should come from the Chair of Court Technology as well as
the designation of who would chair the User Group.
Sally moved on to discuss the duties and scope of authority. She stated the User Group can act
on these types of issues and make decisions without having to take it to Court Technology.
Judge Racek added that this group would be involved in the roll out of these assignments in
planning and implementing. Judge Racek would like to change section H of the duties and scope
of authority to “reporting” rather than “enforcement.” He would also like to change the language
to “Reporting refers to the assessment of end-user activity and actions taken to encourage
compliance with Best Practices adopted by the Odyssey User Group and identifying
impediments to using Best Practices.” Justice Sandstrom asked for any comments to changing
the language. There were none. Justice Sandstrom stated the changes would be made.
Sally added that she had rolled forms specifically into the user group. Right now they are two
separate groups but she would like this group to discuss whether or not they should be combined.
Donna stated the forms were delayed due to Units 3 and 4 not having a clear view on how the
forms fit in. She stated they had their first discussions on how to name and sort the forms. The
clerks have the expertise necessary, but were concerned that if forms are rolled into this group,
many people across the state would lose their voice on what goes into the forms. Justice
Sandstrom suggested that we should have a working group under the User Group to address the
forms. Sally thought that would work well. She stated there are an overwhelming number of
forms and if the intention is to consolidate these, it will be a major on-going activity. Sally
asked if she should add into the document that the chair may appoint working groups as
necessary. Justice Sandstrom agreed.
Sally discussed the operating procedures and that she deliberately left the schedule of meetings
open. She stated they are now meeting every other week but anticipates in the future that they
may not need to meet that often. She suggested maybe putting a minimum meeting schedule in.
She also pointed out that the meetings are currently listed as informal. Justice Sandstrom stated
adding a minimum amount of meetings would be beneficial. Sally stated that meeting at least 6
times a year would be needed. Judge Mattson stated there would probably be various projects
that would require them to meet weekly and some that may require less frequent meetings. He
believes what is stated in the document is sufficient. Justice Sandstrom asked for any objections
to leaving a frequency out. There were none.
Sally then discussed reporting responsibilities and stated that members have an obligation to
actively educate, inform and solicit information from their constituency. Justice Sandstrom
stated the reporting responsibilities are to the Court Technology committee.
Judge Mattson moved to adopt the Odyssey Transition Plan including Appendix A of the
Odyssey User Group Charter along with the changes discussed. Judge Racek seconded the
motion. Motion carried.
Chris Iverson inquired into the expected date of implementation of this plan. Sally stated they
should continue until further notice because appointments still need to be made. She stated that
in the charter the appointments will be made by the Chair of the Court Technology Committee in
consultation with committee members. She stated the next Court Technology meeting was not
until August 19th and appointments would probably be discussed at that time.
Penny Miller moved to begin the new User Group September 1. Rita seconded the motion.
Discuss allowing Pro Se litigants to use E-Filing system Sally Holewa discussed Pro Se litigants as far as bill collectors, managers of apartment buildings
and so forth whom might be routinely filing with the court system. Judge Schmalenberger
looked for confirmation that anyone can take the e-filing training even if they are not an attorney
and have the ability to e-file which then gives them access to that file. Justice Sandstrom stated
that these are 2 separate issues. The question is whether or not a self represented party should be
permitted to file documents through e-filing. Sally stated she believes we should allow it. She
said they are going to file anyway and the clerk has the same gate keeper role whether it’s
through the e-file portal or at the counter. She does not see an issue with allowing them to e-file
from a high level prospective. Rod stated that Minnesota has set up kiosks in the courthouse for
Pro Se litigants to e-file. Rod agreed with Sally to allow them to e-file. Donna Wunderlich also
agreed. She stated it would be a fine line in how to allow access to e-filing. Judge Racek
inquired into the process of paying for e-filing. Jim explained that File & Serve 2.4 allows the
clerks the capability to choose the fee. In response to a question form Judge Racek, Jim Gienger
confirmed that a credit card number is required for e-filing.
Penny Miller asked to hear from the clerks to see what benefits or impediments this may have.
Rita stated that from a clerk’s standpoint it would work better than people coming into file as
long as they are held to the same standards as everyone else. Deb Simenson stated that most of
their Pro Se filings come from the penitentiary and would doubt that they have a credit card. She
stated that they don’t have much of an issue with Pro Se filings at the window. Judge Racek
stated that if we offer it to one we should offer it to all and we should put a date on when they
can start attending training. Larry clarified that there is nothing we can currently do to restrict a
Pro Se litigant from registering for e-filing. Judge Mattson asked why Minnesota decided to go
the kiosk route. Rod explained that they are doing that in case they don’t have a computer at
home. Judge Mattson asked if that involves a scanner. Tom Bartell stated that in Clark County,
Nevada, they have a desktop computer along with an available scanner, but was unsure of what
equipment is being used in Minnesota.
Judge Racek made a motion to allow Pro Se litigants to e-file under the same terms that
are offered to every other party. Judge Medd seconded the motion. Justice Sandstrom
asked for discussion. Penny Miller asked if there was a way to disallow litigants if they abuse
the system. Jim Gienger stated we could remove the user id if needed. Justice Sandstrom asked
for further discussion. Donna Wunderlich agreed we should allow it however she suggested that
we should not provide any equipment for this purpose.Justice Sandstrom agreed that this is not
a commitment to purchase additional equipment. Motion carried.
Status of docket display installations Larry reported the in-house solution is going well and should be wrapped up by July 1st. He
stated besides the cost of buying and mounting the monitors, the only other cost is the
programmer’s time. If changes need to be made we will be able to make them much more
quickly. We are also saving thousands of dollars in licensing costs. Larry reported that as of
this week, all of the monitors have been delivered to the four large counties. Grand Forks
County was the first to get up and running. Ward County has chosen not to mount it on the wall;
rather they have purchased a stand. He stated the Cass County monitors will be mounted soon.
Burleigh County equipment is being used for testing at the IT office and will be rolled out later.
Larry explained the layout on the monitors and that there is a header across the top with 5
different columns; names, case number and type, judicial officer and courtroom name or
number, and then time followed by charges. Below the header there is room for 10 cases to
scroll horizontally about every 1 ½ seconds. The display is sorted first by time and then by
defendant name. The display rolls over every 3 hours.
Larry stated the only issue that arose was how to display restricted cases. He said they chose to
follow the Supreme Court and put the individuals’ initials as allowed under AR 41 and Rule 3.4.
Larry stated there has been some concern in Ward and Grand Forks counties. Judge Medd stated
there were some initial issues where the Mental Health case names were appearing in full
however it has since been corrected. He stated there is some concern with showing initials and
perhaps a block of time should show with closed hearings. He stated that if the initials are
displayed bystanders would be able to easily associate the individuals with the initials. He said
the preference for Grand Forks would be to display closed hearings rather than the initials. Sally
stated she was unsure of how a block of closed hearings would assist the litigants in finding their
courtroom. She stated displaying the initials does comply with the rules of the court. She also
stated Odyssey’s public calendar currently displays the initials. Donna Wunderlich explained
that Odyssey has an option to selectively hide case style with security groups which then
displays it as **Confidential**. Sally stated the whole purpose of the docket display is for the
person coming to the courthouse who doesn’t know where to go and a blanket name of
“confidential” would not be of any assistance to them. Judge Mattson stated he would prefer the
display to say restricted or closed hearing. He explained that in smaller communities others can
easily identify the individual. He stated when dealing with juvenile cases and such they will
know which courtroom to go to.
Judge Racek stated that soon they will have 10 courtrooms going in 3 different areas. He stated
there are not only litigants but also doctors, psychologists and so forth that need to know where
to go as well. Judge Mattson inquired into the possibility of the system being structured to have
separate capabilities per unit. Larry stated that technically it can be done however it is two
systems to support and will create more overhead on the system which will slow down
productivity for others. Judge Mattson stated that this change to show initials has not been
implemented in Unit 4. Larry stated that he thinks the court calendar on the web displays initials
as well for the entire state. Judge Mattson stated that if so, that has been done without the
consultation of the administration. Justice Sandstrom inquired into how many cases this effects.
Rod Olson stated that they have a referee hearing confidential cases all day every day of the
week with another doing this about half as much. Rod stated that sometimes courtrooms are
changed the morning of court.
Donna Wunderlich asked if it is possible for juvenile cases to display the initials and have
mental health and protection orders display confidential. Sally thought maybe having just the
case number display would be sufficient. Rod stated he understands the concerns but the public
displays will not have value if these cases are not shown. Justice Sandstrom stated the options
are to continue what is being currently done or look into the possibility of having a local option
for each unit.
Judge Racek moved to have the local option per administrative unit. Judge Medd
seconded the motion. Justice Sandstrom asked for any further discussion.
Judge Racek inquired into if the docket display is a useful tool for Ward and Grand Forks
counties. Judge Mattson stated that it is for Ward County. Larry Zubke asked for clarification
on what Ward County would want to see. Judge Mattson stated that he would like to see it say
restricted hearing at the designated time and the attorney. Larry stated that attorney’s are not
presently shown. He stated that they could replace the name with restricted or closed hearing.
He inquired if leaving the case number would be fine. Judge Mattson stated that would be okay.
Larry inquired into displaying the charges. Donna stated that mental health cases would be
blank under the charges column. Becky Absey stated that for juvenile cases it would display the
charges. Judge Mattson stated he was unsure of whether or not to allow this. Judge Medd stated
that the case number should be sufficient as attorneys and parties should know their case
Justice Sandstrom recapped the motion to allow a local option per administrative unit and
asked for any other discussion.
Sally stated there is a statewide rule and displaying the initials complies with the rule. She was
uncertain how implementing local options complies with the rules already adopted by the court.
Justice Sandstrom called for a vote on the motion to allow a local option per
administrative unit. Motion carried.
Status of Supreme Court video installation Justice Sandstrom stated that the video industry is currently transitioning from analog to digital
and not all the vendors have made the necessary adjustments required to implement a digital
solution, so the court is not going ahead with this project in the current biennium. The court will
continue to study and communicate with vendors over solutions and pricing during the next
For the Good of the Order
The meeting was adjourned by Justice Sandstrom. The next meeting is scheduled for August 19,