American Judges Association

"The Voice of the Judiciary"


Executive Committee Meeting  
Little Rock Arkansas  
March 29, 2001  

Call to Order.

President Chris Williams called the second Executive Committee (EC) Meeting to order on Thursday, March 29, 2001. The following individuals were in attendance: President Chris Williams, Pres. Elect Bonnie Sudderth, First Vice-Pres. Francis Halligan, Second Vice-Pres. Michael McAdam, Sec. Gayle Nachtigal, Tres. Harold Froehlich, Past Pres. Gerald Elliott, Judges Steve Leben, Jeffrey Rosinek, Leslie Johnson ex-officio, Shelley Rockwell and Kay Farley from the National Center for State Courts and Judge James Heupel.


The minutes from the January 12-13, 2001 meetings were approved without corrections.

Treasurer’s Report.

The committee reviewed the 2000 year-end budget and looked at the 2001 budget.  The Treasurer pointed out the adjustments suggested by the Budget Committee.  There was discussion on how to report investment income.  The increase or decrease in value does not really represent money we actually have to spend or not spend.  The Treasurer will work with the NCSC to better reflect the investment income/losses on future reports. 

Judge Elliott led discussion on increasing our dues an additional $5.00 to a straight $100.00 for general membership.  President Williams was concerned about the effect the increase might have on membership.  The last increase has not been in effect for a year yet and we really do not know what effect if any it has had on the membership of the association.  In order to fully participate with other national organizations we need to have funds available.  It was suggested that the AJF might be a source of funds for particular projects.  Judge Rosinek suggested we develop a second “wish list” budget for things we would like to participate in or contribute to if we only had the money.

Currently there is a request that we participate for $10,000 in CTC 7.  President Elect Sudderth raised the issue of cost versus benefits.  Do we really know what the benefits will be and can we attach a dollar figure to them to compare with the money spent?   Judge Elliott, explained:  Each Judge, estimated to be around 350, attending CTC 7 will receive a free first year membership in AJA just for attending.  We will be involved in the planning and have a presence in the conference that could lead to increased exposure and status in the organizations important to Judges and help to increase our importance as a Judicial organization.  It is a risk for the future. This is an important conference to the NCSC and it will send a statement to CCJ and COSCA that we are an important organization on a national level.    It was moved and seconded that we contribute $5,000.00 to CTC 7 on the condition that the NCSC takes care of printing our membership information as part of the conference and providing us with the names and addresses of our new members and that the money be taken from the membership line item on the current budget (Leben - Elliott).  Motion passed.  President Elect Sudderth was appointed chair of the CTC 7 effort.

President Williams asked approval from the executive committee to take from the President’s budget the necessary funds to pay for Kevin Reifler’s expenses to attend the AJA conference in Reno.  There is money in the budget to accomplish this request.  There was general approval. 

Concerning the AJA investments there was discussion and general agreement that we need someone to help us invest our funds and to manage them into the future.  Currently they are still in the investments they were originally placed in and we have not actively managed them.  A motion was made to recommend to the Board of Governors that the Treasurer and an investment committee be directed to invest our funds as appropriate with A.G. Edwards (Leben - Rosinek).  The motion passed.  A second motion was made to establish the members of the investment committee.  The investment committee shall consist of the President, President Elect, Treasurer and two other members appointed by the President (Rosinek - Leben).  This motion also passed.                        


The co-chairs of the committee are not attending this meeting and therefore there was no report.  The following suggestions were made: The retention committee should look at local funding of membership so we have a better understanding of membership cost issues.  Focus groups should be established to try and determine what attracts members in the first place and what keeps them involved after the first year.  The committee should be made up of members that are relatively new and those with history in the association.  Judges John Williams and William McMonigal are going to try and determine how to best get the answers to the “what brings you to the organization” and “what makes you stay” questions. The NCSC may be able to assist in formulating the questions that will get the answers we need.  Finally the President is to put together a letter that will detail the things this organization has done for Judges. This could be used in membership drives and other retention programs.


The newest editions of both publications are due to be out within the month.

House of Delegates.  No report.

AJF.  No report.

National Center for State Courts.

The Best Practices Institute is still trying to determine just how to go about is mission.  Hopefully there will be more to report following the April board meeting.

Update on State Court Issues in Congress 2001.

It is too soon to have much to report from this Congress.  The Budget is the major issue they are working on at this time.  SJI is at current funding levels in the President’s proposed budget.    Kay Farley and President Williams then reported on the 2001 Court Association Meeting.  This meeting was held in March and was a good opportunity for networking.  Feed back from those attending was very positive.  Topics included, Public Trust and Confidence, Diversity, Court Interpreters, Technology in the Courts, and the changing role of state courts.  They are now planning the Assembly of Associations 2002.  We should expect to send the President and President Elect to this meeting.

NCSC/AJA Agreement.

The proposed contract is the same as last year.  This includes the $8,000.00 credit.

Old Business.

Barnard College Survey.  Judge Elliott reported that only 70 Judges responded and 28 litigants.  This is a very poor response.  Several efforts were made to increase the response level but nothing has worked.  There may not be enough responses to have a valid sample.

NCSC Survey on “Ensuring the Participation of Victims of Crime in the Criminal Justice System–The Court’s Role.  This survey will be sent out shortly and it is very important that we participate.  It will have a cover letter from President Williams explaining the importance of this survey and hopefully they will get a better response form us. 

Site selection protocol.  The responses received indicated those responding would prefer a summer meeting rather than a fall annual meeting.  In order to have a summer annual meeting we would need to not conflict with CCJ, NACM, COSCA, and the ABA.  Additionally we would need to move the mid year meeting and then we will need to be more careful about location and weather.  Montreal is the first annual meeting that we could move to an earlier date.  More work needs to be done before a final decision is made.

Report on contact with Kevin Reifler.  Judge Rosinek talked to Kevin Reifler and they are working on several Op-Ed pieces.  Kevin Reifler will be in Reno for the annual meeting to talk to the BOG about tips on how to deal with the media.  We will continue to work with Kevin Reifler and see how things progress.

E-Newsletter.  Bonnie Sudderth has been sending out almost weekly e-mails to members with e-mail addresses.  There were a few problems and some asked to be removed from the list and that was done.  Steve Leben responded quickly to the problem and was thanked for dealing with the issue.  Most responses have been positive.  We still need to deal with just what we want this service to be: an information only service or a service that provided information but allows for communication between members as well. 

Joint Meeting with NACM /NASJE and AJA.  If this is to occur it will happen in 2004 at the mid winter meeting.   Two members of AJA are to be appointed to serve on a committee to work out the details.  Due to the size of NACM the location will need to be large enough to accommodate their membership.  President Williams appointed Leslie Johnson and Gayle Nachtigal to serve on that committee as representatives from AJA.  

Jury Summit 2001.  This meeting was well run and very educational. 

New Business.

A request was made to make every effort to get the materials out to the executive committee in advance of the meeting.  We do need to watch the costs of mailing.  It was suggested to send as much out by e-mail as soon as possible and that should help to reduce the costs.  Hard copies could then be made available at the meeting. 

There being no other business the Executive Committee was adjourned.

Respectively submitted

Gayle A. Nachtigal, Secretary.