A lot has been going on in the first quarter of this year. After USCRA submitted its suggestions for revisions to the AO's redlined draft of the Court Reporter Manual, we received word that almost all of our changes were incorporated into the new guide. The Administrative Office is completing its review and we are awaiting the final edited version to be distributed. USCRA's Circuit Representatives are to be commended for the hard work they put into the review and proposals that were then submitted to the Federal Legislation and Technology Committee, but the FL&T Committee is the hero of this story. Without their long and tedious hours of attention to minute detail, followed by more hours of discussion, writing, and rewriting, the new manual would look quite different and would not be as true a reflection of our job duties and responsibilities. At the end of the midyear convention, the members of the committee gave a short interview for TCR, so please take the time to read their thoughts on the undertaking.
Ah, yes, the convention. As I am writing this, last week at this time I was arriving home from a fantastic midyear in Chicago at the Rosemont Embassy Suites. We had over 60 people register for the FCRR, and many of the test candidates stayed for the daylong seminar delivered by Mark Kislingbury. Every person who emerged from the room that day told me that there was something that they learned and could use to make themselves better writers when they got back home. Hats off to Terri Martin and Jan Davis for once again providing a comfortable venue and an interesting and informative speaker.
The Board held its meeting on Friday of convention week and discussed topics ranging from amending USCRA's bylaws, to members' concerns, to Court Reporter Advisory Group reports. As the Constitution and Bylaws are reviewed and rearranged, all proposed changes will be sent to the members for their vote on the matter, so please keep your eyes open as we get into the summer for that material. We will send out an e-blast to make sure everyone is aware of upcoming votes, but be aware this will be accomplished in the coming months.
Members' concerns were discussed throughout the board meeting. Responses to some concerns were agreed upon, while other concerns appeared to have no one resolution and were dependent upon local Court Reporter Management Plans. Please make sure that your local Court Reporter Management Plan is in our archives to enable full and complete future discussions. If you have any questions about the Board's discussion on any specific topic after you read the Board minutes, please contact your Circuit Rep for further clarification.
There were three concerns voiced over the past several months which the Board decided should be presented to the Administrative Office and the Court Reporter Advisory Group: CART services, providing draft/unedited transcripts, and the definition of daily copy. Joe Armstrong, USCRA's CRAG representative, will be composing a memo on the issues to send to Robin Cole, our AO/CRAG liaison, to be placed on a future agenda. As part of his duties, Joe is also on two AO/CRAG subcommittees, tasked with helping to create a brand new manual section on realtime technology and to replace the manual's old error-ridden sample transcript with several instructive samples of transcripts that correctly follow the guidelines. Joe is a fine example of the people who work hard for you on USCRA's Board; please thank him if you get the chance.
The Administrative Office and Court Reporter Advisory Group did have one teleconference since our manual's revision was proposed. You will find the report of that meeting later in this magazine. The big topic of the day was a study to be conducted by the AO next year. Transcripts of cooperation agreements and the exposure draft review were also touched upon.
As we segue into the spring and hopefully some warmer weather, and looking forward to the usual reduced summer workload of the courts, please spend some of your time thinking about suggestions you can make to USCRA to improve our organization, our profession, and our everyday work lives. Your Circuit Representative wants to know what's going on in your district because policies usually are implemented in one courthouse and then grow to encompass the whole system. We are interested and want you to keep us involved.
Shirley Hall, USCRA President