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Thursday, March 12, 2009

NYLJ: Lippman Shakes Up Court Administration

Lippman Shakes Up Court Administration
The New York Law Journal by Joel Stashenko - March 12, 2009

ALBANY, NEW YORK - Jonathan Lippman yesterday took what he called the first of many intended steps as chief judge to clear away "administrative clutter" in the upper echelons of New York state's court structure by reducing from five to two the number of deputy chief administrative judges. The new chief judge said that only the posts of deputy chief administrative judges for the courts in New York City and for the courts outside of New York City remain.

He announced that he has appointed Supreme Court Justice Fern Fisher, 54, as deputy chief administrative judge for courts in New York City. She succeeds Judge Joan B. Carey, the deputy chief administrative judge for New York City courts since 1997. Judge Carey, 69, will remain as interim administrative judge for the civil branch of Manhattan Supreme Court through the end of the year, when she retires. Judge Jan H. Plumadore, 66, is chief administrative judge for courts outside New York City. The titles of deputy chief administrative judges for matrimonial affairs, for justice initiatives and for court operations and planning will be eliminated and their former holders have either been reassigned to other duties or retired.  Chief Judge Lippman also announced, as expected, that Ann Pfau would remain as chief administrative judge. Judge Pfau, 60, succeeded Judge Lippman as chief administrative judge in 2007, when Judge Lippman was appointed presiding justice of the Appellate Division, First Department.

In addition, Judge Juanita Bing Newton, the deputy chief administrative judge for justice initiatives, has been appointed dean of the Pace University-affiliated New York State Judicial Institute. Judge Newton, 58, will succeed Robert G.M. Keating, who became Pace's vice president for strategic initiatives last year. Judge Judy Harris-Kluger, 56, deputy chief administrative judge for court operations and planning, will head a newly created Office of Policy and Planning that will work with judges to improve the efficiency of the state's courts.  The title of the fifth deputy chief administrative judge, for matrimonial matters, will be eliminated. It has been vacant since the Dec. 31 retirement of Jacqueline W. Silbermann. Chief Judge Lippman said the training and mentoring of matrimonial judges statewide will now be done through the Judicial Institute. He added that Judge Fisher will relinquish her job as citywide Civil Court administrator, Judge Kluger as citywide Family Court administrator and Judge Newton as citywide Criminal Court administrator as they take their new assignments.

Time to Reassess

He said with all three jobs open, it would be a good time to reassess the effectiveness of the positions as part of the overall analysis of supervisory and administrative judges statewide.  Judge Lippman has been hinting at making significant changes in court leadership since Feb. 11, the day he was confirmed by the state Senate.  Yesterday's announcements also represented his first significant break with operations of the courts as they developed during former Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye's 15-plus years as chief judge.  Judge Lippman served for 12 of those years as chief administrative judge and, as he acknowledged yesterday, was in part responsible for developing the structure of the five deputy chief administrators at the top of the court system.  Judge Lippman called Ms. Kaye "the greatest chief judge in the history of this state," but said it is time for changes. He said the grim state of New York's finances and of the state and national economies are in large part dictating the streamlining of the court leadership's flow chart.

"As chief judge, in my own right, just as Judge Kaye addressed the challenges that confronted her during her 15-year tenure, I think there are new challenges facing this state," Judge Lippman said yesterday in an interview. "Two that hit you square in the face - one is this judicial salary debacle that must be addressed and the other is a fiscal crisis of epic proportions facing this state and this country. That is the framework for the challenges that I am going to confront in the years ahead." He said the changes are designed to create a "clean, straight line from administration to the trial courts."  "The idea is to put the focus on court operations, on the trial courts, and to streamline the administrative structure to allow that priority of the court system to shine through," Judge Lippman said.  While he had no estimate of savings to the court system, he said the shift would ultimately free up resources that could be directed to the trial-level courts.

Judge Lippman said other changes are coming. The state courts' 56 administrative and supervising judges will be re-evaluated and bureaucratic changes at the Office of Court Administration are also under review. The courts have increasingly drawn criticism from within the Legislature in recent years, especially from the former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, John DeFrancisco, R-Syracuse, for being top-heavy administratively and bureaucratically.  Judge Lippman acknowledged the criticism and said the administrative structure grew because changes in the court system demanded administrators with new "portfolios" to respond to new stresses on the courts. The changes announced yesterday were made in consultation with the four presiding justices of the Appellate Division and went into effect immediately. Judge Lippman said that having a "leaner" administrative structure will not inhibit the courts' efforts to address the judicial pay raise controversy or respond to other challenges facing the courts, including the possibility of drug law reform, shortages of funding for indigent legal services in civil and criminal courts and the continuing need to improve town and village courts.


Anonymous said...

OK Jonathan, I've been one of your biggest critics. Now I'm willing to give you a chance, but I'm not giving you much time. You know how bad things are, you know it all and need no time to "come up to speed."

Your time is to act, and act quickly. I have NEVER complimented you, but I must now. You did good here, now keep it up.

Start in your own backyard-Westchester. Nicolai, as you are well aware, has caused total havoc in the 9th JD. Boot Nicoalai's ass- today! Then start the process to have Nicolair removed from the bench.

Anonymous said...

Keep producing Judge Lippman, keep producing.

Anonymous said...

Does Judge Lippman have anything to say about Gary Casella's lack of admonishing lawyers in Westchester and Rockland?

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't trust Jonathan Lippman as far as I could throw him, he is a snake!!!!!!!!!!! Mark my words

Anonymous said...

Whatever Lippman does, it does not change the fact that he is still whitewashing complaints against his friends and that he did illegal favors the Judicial Nominating Committee.

He doesn't mind doing good things occasionally as long as they don't affect any of his buddies.

Anonymous said...

Lippman kept that criminal slimball...Jan one of the 2 Administrative Judges? Strike one Johnny!

Lippman will only make things leaner without removing the liars and by clearing jobs through retirement. All Administrative Judges will stay in place...unless there is a weak one that OCA has wanted to dump forever..the rest are put in place by the same politics that put Kaye and Lippman in.

Lippman needs to review all lawsuits filed against OCA and settle them ALL.
You cannot reform a system that is entangled in multiple lawsuits alleging very serious and damaging allegations with proof.

My belief is that he will do nothing substantial, continue to play politics and maybe even attempt to cover up corruption more than Kaye..because she left him with this erupting volcano...forcing the Fabulous Johnny to play garbage man.

I continue to have the same feelings about Lippman that I always have will take something drastic for me to change that intuition.

Anonymous said...

I'm laughing soooo HARD, I just pee- peed in my pants..Look in the mirror LIPPMAN and reassess YOURSELF. You're the one that needs to be LOOKED AT and cleaned up.

Anonymous said...

Lippman and his buddies are all dirty rotten scoundrels that all should be exposed

Anonymous said...

They're all the spawn of Satan.
Don't hold your breath for any changes.

Anonymous said...

Sure, I'll give Lippman a chance. One, two, three. Times up, Jonathan 'ole boy. Bring in the feds. Bring in the cuffs. Yup, people are THAT pissed off.

Anonymous said...

Nothing like fawning media coverage. The media knows all about the corruption and they produce puff pieces about a devil's reformation.

Anonymous said...

Well Judge Lippman causes no fear in the hearts of Suffolk County Judges... They continue their corrupt ways and coverups as if nothing has changed...

Anonymous said...

Lippman,you need to look at the corruption in SUFFOLK COUNTY .Start with Sgroi and Leis.

Start weeding out the attorneys who should NOT be on the part 36 eligible list . Start with DEBRA V ISLER and her husband.
Rip Islers "accountings" to shreds, the ones she actually bothers to file. Did I mention she is also famous for not filing her NOA's and COC's ? Don't believe me , ask the fiduciary clerk to pull her negligent name up.

The OCA and the IG's office know all about the crap that goes on , and I can't beleive that you don't.

Never seen a more corrupt crew in all my days.

read more here

Anonymous said...

I suggest that you investigate Debra Isler, Esq.

Anonymous said...

Investigate Debra Isler.

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