MINUTES COURT TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE Front Conference Room Supreme Court, Bismarck December 18, 2009 9:15 a.m.
Members Participating Dale Sandstrom, Supreme Court Justice, Committee Chair Penny Miller, Clerk of Supreme Court Rita Fischer, Deputy Clerk of District Court Sally Holewa, State Court Administrator Doug Mattson, District Judge Joel Medd, District Judge Donna Wunderlich, District Court Administrator William Herauf, District Judge Becky Absey, Clerk of District Court Lee Ann Barnhardt, Director of Education & Communication
Absent Daniel Narum, District Judge Frank Racek, District Judge
Guests Brandi Fagerland, ITD Project Oversight Manager Jim Gienger, Project Manager for UCIS Replacement Project Rod Olson, District Court Administrator and member of the Operations Oversight Group Allan Schmalenberger, District Judge Chris Iverson, Clerk of District Court
Staff Larry Zubke, Director of Technology Todd Becker
Minutes Marlys Kienzle
The meeting was called to order by Chair Sandstrom.
Approval of minutes from October 16, 2009 meeting Justice Sandstrom asked for approval of the October 16, 2009 minutes. Judge Joel Medd
moved to approve the meeting minutes. Judge William Herauf seconded the motion and
the motion carried.
Update on the Odyssey Go Live Status in Cass and Traill Counties Jim Gienger reported the roll out of Cass and Traill Counties continues to be successful
and reviewed three project reports with the Committee.
Jim reviewed the variance report he had sent to the committee. The report gave a quick
view of the schedule and budget for the Odyssey project. The report is accurate as of
November 2009. A little over 3.1 million dollars has been spent, which is 5.9% under
budget. The schedule performance is 2.9% over or behind schedule. The primary issue is
with the Sonant Interactive Voice Response (IVR). There also are a couple of un-finished integrations that were scheduled for Phase I which were not needed during the
roll out and have been postponed to Phase II.
He noted Cass and Traill counties have gone through the financial month-end process
twice. The last financial month-end process ran very smoothly with the aid of a
checklist that was recently developed. The document management process, which is the
scanning of the documents, is being used with minimal issues. The processing of credit
cards over the counter is now working very well.
The second report that Jim reviewed with the committee pertained to the remaining
projects for North Dakota enhancements to the system. A total of 7,680 hours were
budgeted for enhancements. To date we have approved the expenditure of 6,441 hours.
Of those, 5,094 have been used. The remaining unfinished projects noted on the report
are near completion. There are three projects that Tyler is doing without charge to North
Dakota because they are being added as core functionality to their product. Tyler has
traditionally used fewer hours than originally estimated to complete these projects. Sally
Holewa added that she reviews the project reports on a regular basis and noted that Tyler
typically errs on the side of caution when making their estimates for projects. The
variance between estimates and actual work is usually a matter of only a few hours.
Brandi Fagerland stated that she had previous concerns with the projects being done on a
time and materials basis but is pleased to see that this methodology is working out for us.
Brandi questioned if there was any concerns on projects that are behind schedule.
The third report covered "Lessons Learned". This report was created in November
through a team exercise to document the processes that worked and didn't work going
through the Phase I experience. Its purpose is to assist in early identification of issues to
be addressed prior to future rollouts. Jim covered the highpoints of the report noting data
conversion and financial training as two areas where additional time should be spent in
the next rollout. Two lessons learned are the need to place additional emphasis on
cleaning up the UCIS data prior to conversions and the need to provide additional
training on financial processes.
Jim reported on the delayed rollout of the Sonant application. The Sonant application
will provide the ability to accept credit card payments for traffic tickets through either its
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) or Interactive Web Response (IWR) capabilities.
Sonant has delivered and installed its hardware and software, but does not have its credit
card module working with Elavon, the merchant account vendor. During this Court
Technology Committee meeting, word was received that Sonant had just resolved their
problems with Elavon and the module was now working. (Further testing was conducted
after the meeting and found the solution to be working satisfactorily.)
Sally Holewa informed the committee that after finishing up with this part of the pilot we
should be looking at a new vendor to supply us with the credit card merchant account. Justice Sandstrom suggested that a news release should be made to notify the public of
the availability of this process.
Rod Olson reported that the redacting and scanning process has worked very well since
Rule 3.4 was amended. Unit 2 is looking forward to the electronic filing rollout which
will also be very helpful in reducing the backlog of documents that need to be scanned. In response to a question from Justice Sandstrom, Rod replied that the goal is still to have
all court documents imaged (with the exception of really large cases) when cases are
appealed to the Supreme Court.
In response to a question from Judge Medd regarding how domestic violence restraining
orders are being handled, Larry Zubke replied that we stopped using the temporary UCIS
solution in November when we went live with the new protection order system.
Jim Gienger reported that work has continued with Wiznet, a subcontractor to Tyler
Technologies that is responsible for the e-filing solution, and a pilot project will begin in
January. The law firms chosen for the pilot are Makhoff Kellogg Law Firm in Dickinson
and the Rodenberg Law Firm with offices in Fargo and Bismarck. These firms were
selected because they do the bulk of collections and foreclosure work in North Dakota
and both firms are familiar with e-filing. They will be trained the week of January 11th
and the pilot will go live on January 18th.
In response to a question regarding how e-filing payments will be handled, Jim reported
that Wiznet processes the credit card transactions in-house and ACH the proceeds
directly to the county bank accounts, therefore merchant accounts are not needed.
Sally suggested that a demonstration of Wiznet be set up for the committee at the next
meeting and Justice Sandstrom asked for this to be put on the agenda for the next
Justice Sandstrom asked for an update on granting lawyers online access to imaged court
documents that are associated with their cases. Jim Gienger said there are still a lot of
questions on how to move forward on this. For example, "Should attorneys be allowed
to see only the documents they are involved with or all non-restricted documents from
any case?" These are questions that are being discussed with Tyler and Wiznet.
Jim also reported that we are preparing for Phase II. One of the first steps is identifying
new "Subject Matter Experts" (SMEs). We have identified 5 clerks from the next 12
counties scheduled to go-live as the new SMEs. Training for these SME's will be the
week of January 11th. They will begin data review of converted data starting January
We are planning two more data pushes, one the end of February and another one the end
of March or the beginning of April. Our target go-live date is April 19th for the additional
Unit 2 courts. This is ahead of schedule, as the original Phase II go live date was planned
for the end of July.
Larry reported to the committee on the December meeting with the Unit 2 municipalities.
In attendance were Fargo, Jamestown, Valley City and West Fargo. Wahpeton was
invited but was unable to attend. Of those municipalities, Valley City and Fargo are not
current UCIS-users. During the meeting they viewed the system and did a mini analysis
to see if it was a fit for these municipalities. We have tentatively scheduled a go-live
date for the municipal courts within the Unit 2 area as May 24th.
A pilot test of the e-signature components is tentatively planned for Cass County in
The "In Session for Clerks" product will be installed after the phase 2 rollout. This
product allows clerks to download all of the court case information for that given day
onto a PC in the courtroom. It will enable clerks to quickly navigate through the cases
without going to separate tabs. Current plans are to roll this out in July. Justice
Sandstrom explained the advantages of using the In Session for Clerks product.
In response to a question from Judge Medd regarding the need for hardware
enhancements for the Judge's benches, Larry Zubke responded that there are two
concerns. First, the installation of the Odyssey system will require a Citrix PC on the
bench to view case documents. Second, if the courts decide to go forward with
purchasing the "Judge's Module" that Tyler is prototyping, a touch screen monitor will
need to be installed.
Brandi Fagerland expressed her appreciation of how well everyone has done with the
project. Judge Schmalenberger also expressed his appreciation and gave credit to Jim,
Larry, Larry's staff and the Cass and Traill County staff with how well this project has
gone. Larry reported that the system has been doing very well and was very happy with
how the hardware has been performing. The network is working well in Cass County.
Traill County has had a couple of days where the network was very slow and he hopes
that ITD will be providing more network bandwidth in the near future.
Justice Sandstrom asked Brandi Fagerland to have ITD provide a status on the network
Becky Absey commented that her staff has completed the training of Outlook in
Microsoft Office 2007. They believe the online learning tool was very useful. They will
be training on Word, Excel and PowerPoint next.
Larry Zubke reported that as the counties move to Odyssey, we will be replacing the
Citrix PCs with actual PC's that have Office 2007 and a scanner installed.
Progress report on the wireless internet installations Larry Zubke reported on the status of the wireless internet scheduled to be installed at the
four major county courthouses. Grand Forks County already has wireless in their
courthouse. The remaining counties are Burleigh, Cass and Ward counties. Burleigh
County has installed the wireless and it was activated in November. Ward County has
submitted a request for funding of the wireless internet through the Facilities
Improvement Grant. Cass County just requested the wireless internet installation this
The committee discussed expanding the installation to other courthouses as was noted in
the minutes of the last meeting. Larry reported that he has not received any other
requests for wireless internet. Sally Holewa recommended postponing additional
wireless installations until we can review the volume, usage and what exactly it is used
for, as this information would be helpful to get a sense of need.
Judge Medd informed the committee that he was contacted by the Regional Child
Support Unit, which is a high volume office that appears before the Court. They asked
for the committee's position on bringing their laptops in and using the wireless internet. Justice Sandstrom asked Judge Medd how accessible a wireless connection was in the
Grand Forks courthouse. Judge Medd's thoughts were that anyone who is in range of the
antennas could obtain internet access.
Digital Audio recording status Larry Zubke and Todd Becker reviewed a spreadsheet showing the current status of
audio recording systems by county. In response to a question from Justice Sandstrom,
Todd Becker affirmed that the central server was installed and has been up and running
for two months. He said there were some issues to begin with but were simple fixes.
Todd also explained that he is waiting for Voice IQ to make available a management
console that would be used to monitor the system and ensure that recordings are being
copied successfully from server to server.
Justice Sandstrom questioned if there was some type of hyperlink in Odyssey to take the
user from the Odyssey case to the audio recording located on the Voice IQ server. Larry Zubke reported that this was discussed previously and the decision was made not to
pursue since it would require extensive programming within Odyssey and Voice IQ to
accomplish this, it was felt that it was not worth the expense. Instead it was decided to
insert the Voice IQ session number in Odyssey so the judge or clerk can locate the
recording easily on the Voice IQ server. Justice Sandstrom asked if a judge could do this
in chambers or if they would they have to go somewhere else to listen to the audio. Todd affirmed that as long as they had the Voice IQ player, they would be able to listen
to it from their chambers. Judge Medd questioned the availability of accessing real time
transcripts. Justice Sandstrom explained that there has been discussion on this issue. It is
difficult to do at this time, due to the lack of search capabilities within Odyssey.
For the Good of the Order The 2010 dates for the Court Technology Committee meetings are listed below. All
meetings will be held in the Front Conference Room at the Supreme Court and will begin
at 9:15 a.m. To the extent possible, telephone and ITV will be available as an option for
February 12 April 9 June 25 August 13 October 8 December 3