SJC Task Force Issues Action Plan for Hiring and Promotion of Employees of the Trial Court Recorder, Clerks and Registers of Probate

The Supreme Judicial Court has reviewed the recommendations presented in the “Action Plan for Hiring and Promotion of Employees of the Trial Court Recorder, Clerks and Registers of Probate .”   The new report is the fifth in a series of comprehensive reviews with each exploring a different part of the court system, led by the SJC’s Task Force for Hiring in the Judicial Branch, chaired by former Attorney General Scott Harshbarger.  
 
The Action Plan reinforces the core principles and best practices approach outlined in the prior reports, including emphasis on the need for the Trial Court’s Human Resources Department to have an enlarged role in recruitment, hiring, promotion, training and performance evaluation of court employees.  The Task Force recommends that the clerks, registers and the recorder, who are the appointing authorities for their offices, continue to make the final decisions on the applicants hired to work in their offices, but underscores that each applicant should meet common, statewide minimum qualifications for various positions and participate in standard Trial Court employee training programs and evaluations.  
 
Chief Justice for Administration & Management Robert A. Mulligan has established a 21-member committee, chaired by Juvenile Court Chief Justice Michael F. Edgerton, to undertake a thorough review of the Trial Court’s Personnel Policies and Procedures.  The committee will follow the recommendations set forth in the SJC Task Force Reports to enhance the role of the Human Resources Department so that, when the Trial Court hiring freeze is lifted in the future, it will be prepared to provide effective oversight of the hiring and promotion of employees and perform other expanded HR duties.
 
“The Personnel Policy Committee includes judges, clerks, probation and administrative staff to ensure the involvement of all Trial Court departments and functional areas,” said Chief Justice Mulligan.  “This critical effort will ensure our effective implementation of the recommendations on merit-based hiring and promotion provided in the series of excellent reports submitted by the SJC Task Force on Hiring.”
 
Chief Justice Roderick L. Ireland thanked the SJC Task Force members for their continuing efforts to assist the Judicial Branch with recommendations to strengthen recruitment, hiring and promotion practices throughout the court system.  He said, “We will continue to implement the Task Force recommendations to bolster public confidence in the way that court employees are recruited, promoted and trained.  I commend the Task Force members for their diligent, thoughtful work.”
 
The SJC Task Force will prepare a final report to the Court that will include the tasks and challenges ahead for the judicial branch and its leadership to implement reforms to achieve a first rate, merit-based system of hiring and promotion throughout the Judicial Branch.  The Task Force also will continue to monitor the transformation of hiring and promotion practices in the Probation Department.
 
The Task Force members are Scott Harshbarger, chair; Randy S. Chapman, Stephen P. Crosby, Kathleen M. Dennehy, Kathleen M. Donovan, Ruth Ellen Fitch, Michael B. Keating, Hon. James F. McHugh, Harry Spence and Steven H. Wright.