Chief Justice Gerald W. VandeWalle, Chair
Judge Karen K. Braaten
Judge Georgia Dawson
Judge M. Richard Geiger
Judge Gail Hagerty
Judge William McLees
Judge John T. Paulson
Judge Allan Schmalenberger
Chief Justice VandeWalle called for a motion to approve the minutes of the May 21, 2004 meeting. There was discussion that one item that was not included in the minutes was direction to staff for Jim Ganje to prepare a report on the methods that are working in the various judicial districts for recruitment of indigent defense fees. It was pointed out that there are a number of different methods being applied, and it was agreed that Council needs to consider developing consistent practices for the assessment of indigent defense expenses. The minutes were approved with the addition of this discussion being included.
Personnel Request 2005-07 Biennium
Discussion then focused on the personnel requests for 4.52 FTEs statewide. Requests had been received for a judicial referee and a secretary for the Southeast Judicial District; a half-time judicial referee and a juvenile officer in the South Central Judicial District; and a deputy clerk of court position in the Northwest Judicial District.
Mr. Gladden provide the review discussing recommendations from the administrative office. He stated that they had just certified the elimination of four positions to the Office of Management and Budget effective December 31, 2003. He stated it would be difficult to come in on the heels of this reduction requesting additional personnel. He stated that he felt that the personnel needs could be met by the transferring of personnel between judicial districts. He stated he hoped there would be a level of maturity that would be achieved under the new administrative structure where we could look at the transferring of personnel of various classifications between different working units. This has not been the case in the past. Any transfers have been between the same classification within one working unit.
Mr. Gladden pointed out that the workload data that was used was an average of 2002-2003 to reduce unusual short-term occurrences with any change in case activity.
Judge Schmalenberger indicated that he had to leave the meeting due to a case in process.
Judge Paulson raised concern with the analysis provided as it related to the judicial referee position for the Southeast District. He stated that judges in the Southeast Judicial District have taken strides to change the scheduling practices in Stutsman County. They have gone to block scheduling for juvenile matters and mental health cases to expedite case processing. In response to the question of location of the referees in larger population centers, Mr. Gladden stated that he felt that the better utilization of judicial referees can be achieved if they are able to handle large calendars which occur in the larger communities and they are not required to travel to the smaller counties on a routine basis where there is not a substantial amount of work that can be blocked for them and we are replacing our available judge for parts of a calendar heard by a judicial referee.
After further discussion, it was moved and seconded to accept the staff recommendation that no new positions be requested from the 2005-07 Legislative Assembly. The members were polled and those voting in favor of the motion were Judges Braaten, Dawson, Geiger and McLees. Those voting against the motion were Judges Hagerty and Paulson. Motion carried.