November 2016 –
Answering the call to serve as USCRA’s President was not something that was on my radar. I was content volunteering as a committee member for the association and contributing in that way. I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the USCRA community over the past many years, and I am honored to work for you this year as your President.
In the upcoming year, community will be critical to USCRA’s success. The only way we can grow and improve—as reporters and as an association, as well as a profession—is through community.
Federal reporters can achieve success as individuals, attaining higher certifications which will, in turn, increase our income. Our individual success will hopefully lead us to provide additional services such as realtime. As a result of these individual achievements, our profession will become stronger and better able to serve the needs of the court and bar. But individual achievement is only part of the story. It is the collective achievement, the community of federal officials through our members working together, united towards a common purpose that will secure our jobs and build a stronger future for our profession.
The appointment of federal official court reporters and the number of said reporters will be the focus this year of USCRA and the Court Reporters Advisory Group (CRAG), a smaller community working for us. As you all know, we are in the midst of a Work Measurement Study, providing statistics to the Administrative Office (AO) for the calendar year 2016 of the duties we perform. While this has been a time-consuming task for us, this is but the first step in a lengthy process. Shirley Hall, USCRA’s CRAG representative, and the other reporters serving on CRAG will be guiding us through this process in 2017 as the AO attempts to develop the initial staffing formula for the judiciary’s court reporters.
The examination of the allocation of court reporters for the federal courts is a task that is undertaken each fiscal year as part of the budget development process. Section 280 of Volume 6 of the Guide to Judiciary Policy, known to USCRA members as “The Manual,” provides more detail on the allocation process.
Many people believe that a simple one-to-one allocation of reporter to Article III judge is the most appropriate and feasible method to determine the number of court reporters needed in the federal courts. However, the Judicial Conference has asked the AO to evaluate other resource allocation scenarios.
In the final months of 2016, members of the Policy and Strategic Initiatives Division at the AO will examine the data from the first three quarters of the year and then work with the AO’s Court Services Office to identify missing data, mistakes, or other anomalies. The conclusions drawn by the AO will be reviewed by a steering group which is chaired by The Honorable Roslynn Mauskopf, district judge from the Eastern District of New York. This six months of review and examination will culminate in a staffing formula proposal and possible recommendations that would be made to the Judicial Resources Committee (JRC) of the Judicial Conference. Following the work of the JRC, it is anticipated the Judicial Conference would take action on the recommendations at their September 2017 meeting.
As we move forward through this process, CRAG will be working to ensure the data being supplied to the Judicial Conference is complete and accurate. The USCRA Board will be assisting them by gathering whatever information is needed. In turn, your elected Circuit Representative may be asking for your assistance. Please give your Circuit Representative whatever help you can when you are contacted.
The USCRA community needs to work together throughout this entire process. It will be the only way for the Judicial Conference to arrive at a workable allocation for court reporter services. It will be the only way to ensure that our positions as part of the U.S. District Court will be secure.
USCRA President 2016-2017