Stories indexed with the term ‘juvenile court’

Washtenaw Trial Court Budget Items Approved

At their Sept. 4, 2013 meeting, Washtenaw County commissioners acted on three budget items related to the Washtenaw Trial Court – for a new case management software system, and for state funding of the court’s juvenile division.

The board gave final approval to the selection of a new record-keeping software system for the Washtenaw County Trial Court that’s estimated to cost $2.3 million. The Tyler Odyssey Case Records Management System will replace an outdated software system that hasn’t been supported by the previous vendor since 2005, when the vendor went out of business.

The original resolution, put forward at the board’s Aug. 7, 2013 meeting, had identified the following funding sources for this project: (1) a $551,998 refund from the state … [Full Story]

Washtenaw Board Previews Consolidations

Washtenaw County board of commissioners briefing (June 28, 2011): At a briefing this week to preview agendas for their July 6 meeting and July 7 working session, county commissioners focused most of their questions and comments on a proposed departmental merger and trial court consolidation.

Ronnie Peterson Verna McDaniel

Washtenaw County commissioner Ronnie Peterson, right, and county administrator Verna McDaniel before the start of the chair's briefing on Tuesday, to preview agendas for the July 6 board meeting and July 7 working session. (Photo by the writer.)

Generating significant conversation was an item on the planned consolidation of three departments: The office of community development, the economic development & energy department, and the employment training and community services (ETCS) department. Commissioners wanted clarification on the status of the employee count listed out on the agenda: 11 positions eliminated, 3 jobs created, 20 reclassifications, 5 title changes and 1 position held vacant. County administrator Verna McDaniel told commissioners that while that seems like an extensive set of changes, in terms of people, all but one person had been given a “soft landing” within the county’s organization.

Another item that generated interest among commissioners was the second phase of the trial court consolidation project. Phase two will renovate the first floor of the downtown Ann Arbor courthouse to consolidate some trial court operations, as part of a restructuring that included moving the juvenile court from its Platt Road location earlier this year to the courthouse at Main & Huron. The consolidation was made possible in part due to the relocation of the 15th District Court from the downtown courthouse to the city of Ann Arbor’s new municipal center at Fifth & Huron. Commissioner conversation centered around the purview of the board’s space committee (consisting of Rolland Sizemore Jr. and Rob Turner) in connection with the future of the Platt Road building.

The board’s July 7 working session agenda led to an extended conversation about prioritization of the three items listed: (1) the split of the Washtenaw Community Health Organization (WCHO) from Washtenaw County; (2) the Western Washtenaw Recycling Authority; and (3) the Ann Arbor Skatepark. Chair of the working session, Yousef Rabhi, did not attend Tuesday’s briefing, but with the consent of the working session’s vice chair, Rob Turner, the order to the agenda items was revised to put the WCHO item last. The rationale was to allow an open-ended time for adequate discussion – commissioner Ronnie Peterson figured he might need at least an hour for discussion on that item alone.

The presentation that commissioners will hear on the skatepark is likely to be similar to the one presented by Friends of the Skatepark at the Ann Arbor city council’s June 20 meeting.

Tuesday’s “chair’s briefing” was in a format similar to administrative briefings used in the past to preview upcoming adendas. Those administrative briefings were abandoned due to concerns expressed by some commissioners about accessibility. The June 28 briefing was conducted in the county boardroom and was video-recorded. It was the second in a series of three such briefings scheduled for the summer – the next one takes place on July 26, starting at 4 p.m., to prep for the Aug. 3 board meeting. [Full Story]

“State of the County” Tackles $20M Deficit

Washtenaw County board of commissioners meeting (Jan. 19, 2011): Commissioners got a sober report from the county’s top administrator on Wednesday, providing a preliminary budget forecast for 2012 and 2013 that anticipates a $20.89 million deficit.

Verna McDaniel

Verna McDaniel, Washtenaw County administrator, gave a State of the County address during the Jan. 19, 2011 meeting of the board of commissioners. (Photos by the writer.)

In her State of the County report, Verna McDaniel outlined areas to target in addressing the two-year shortfall: (1) $1 million in cuts to “outside agencies,” including nonprofits supported by the county; (2) $8.5 million in cuts to employee compensation and benefits; and (3) $8.5 million from organizational changes. She’s also looking to generate $2 million in additional revenue, in part by making sure fees charged by the county are set at “appropriate” levels.

Also related to the budget, commissioners approved agreements with two unions – the Police Officers Association of Michigan (POAM) and the Command Officers Association of Michigan (COAM) – that are expected to save a total of $5.6 million over a four-year period. Those savings are already factored in to the budget forecast, and do not serve to lower the projected deficit.

The board also got an update from Donald Shelton, chief judge of the Washtenew County Trial Court, who reviewed changes to the downtown Ann Arbor courthouse – including renovations to accommodate the county’s juvenile court, which is vacating its Platt Road facility later this year. The restructuring also entails merging all trial court clerk services into a “one-stop” operation at the courthouse. These changes come in the wake of the 15th District Court‘s move last weekend from the county courthouse to the city’s new municipal center at Huron and Fifth.

Court staff is working with the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority to address parking needs – DDA executive director Susan Pollay told The Chronicle that several options are being explored, including possible changes to the county-owned surface parking lot at Main and Ann streets.

After Shelton’s update, the board approved a renewed memorandum of understanding with the trial court, outlining the rights and responsibilities of each unit of government. The MOU calls for the county to fund the court through a “lump sum” agreement – the specific dollar amount hasn’t yet been determined. The MOU was approved unanimously with no discussion, though the topic had spurred debate at the board’s Jan. 12 administrative briefing. The debate stems in part from philosophical differences over how to fund the court.

In other business, commissioners approved a raft of committee appointments, and signed off on hiring a “cost recovery” firm who’ll review the county’s vendor contracts and suggest options for savings. And in an atypical occurrence, no one spoke during public commentary at Wednesday’s meeting. [Full Story]