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President's Message

 

Warm greetings to all!

The past several months have been very busy as we prepare for the 90th Annual Conference of the Federal Court Clerks Association (FCCA) which will be held from July 31 through August 2, 2018 in the “Center City” District of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The theme for this year’s historic conference is “Liberty and Learning.” Conference registration will open within the next two weeks and will remain open until full capacity is reached. We will kick off the conference on Monday evening with a President’s Reception, which will give attendees an opportunity to meet and network with other FCCA members from around the country. The conference educational sessions will begin the morning of July 31st at 8:30 a.m. (MSU classes begin July 30th) and the conference will conclude the evening of August 2nd with a formal dinner and dance. Please make sure to register early, as we expect the conference to sell out quickly.

In addition to the annual conference planning, the FCCA co-sponsored an EDR Conference along with the National Conference of Bankruptcy Clerks (NCBC) on March 6-7, 2018, in Omaha, NE. There were over 250 attendees including court unit executives, judges, circuit executives, circuit staff, district court staff, bankruptcy court staff, probation and pretrial staff, and Federal Public Defender staff from 46 states and territories. We were honored to have Lee Ann Bennett, Deputy Director of the AO, attend the program and present the opening remarks. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and I wish to extend my sincere thanks to NCBC President, Regina Thomas, who partnered with us in this endeavor and the Tenth Circuit staff who served as the primary faculty for the program.

We are also in the midst of planning for our next educational program in Antietam, Leadership Lessons of Antietam: A Leadership Workshop for Court Teams, to be held June 4-7, 2018, in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. This powerful program provides lessons in leadership and explains how the challenges faced by commanders many years ago are not unlike challenges faced by modern court teams today including, decision making, policy formation and execution, communication, information management, resource management, and the list goes on. Using this powerful historical location as a backdrop, court teams, made up of court unit executives and chief deputies/deputy chiefs will examine, reflect and learn new ways to strengthen team relationships and share best practices with colleagues from around the country. The program includes site visits with a certified battlefield guide to the Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Maryland.

This past year, the country was hit hard with several natural disasters and many of our members were negatively impacted. The FCCA immediately stepped up to take the lead in coordinating the collection efforts on behalf of the entire judiciary. The response to the call for assistance was overwhelming. Monetary donations were collected and distributed to nearly 90 judiciary employees impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Our members and non-members truly stepped up with providing financial assistance. This Journal publication will include some of the heartfelt notes from recipients who were overwhelmed by the compassion and generosity of the FCCA’s relief efforts.

Unfortunately, we have received news that our partnership with Michigan State University (MSU) will come to an end in the summer of 2019. MSU has decided to discontinue the noncredit certificate program or the Master of Science in Judicial Administration degree program. We are proud to report that 65 FCCA members have graduated from the MSU program with a Noncredit Certificate in Judicial Administration, 4 members have received Graduate Certificates in Judicial Administration Noncredit Certificate in Judicial Administration and 10 members have received Master of Science degrees during our 15-year partnership. The MSU program will offer two live noncredit certificate courses on Monday, July 30th, prior to the official start of the conference, in addition to a student graduation ceremony to be held later in the conference. The final student graduation ceremony for MSU will be held during the 2019 annual conference. On behalf of the FCCA, I would like to thank Dr. Maureen Conner, Professor and Director of the MSU Judicial Administration Program, and Catharine White, Academic Specialist & MSU Judicial Administration Program Student Services and Course Administrator for their dedication and commitment to this program over the past 15 years.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the FCCA Officers, Board members and Committee Chairs for all the time and effort each of them spends in supporting and promoting our association throughout the year. They are truly a dedicated group of individuals who work tirelessly to ensure the needs of the membership are identified and addressed. Thanks to each of you for all you do!

I look forward to seeing everyone this summer in Philadelphia and please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions, ideas or concerns relating to the FCCA.