The Minnesota Association for Court Management announced the recipients of its 2015 awards at its annual conference.
Christa Tum Cuc and Wendy VanDuyne
Christa Tum Cuc, Fourth Judicial District, Juvenile Court Operations Manager
Christa is completely committed to performance and increased outcomes by continually providing feedback to her staff when it is needed. She consistently inspires staff to fully embrace new procedures and new initiatives by having a positive attitude but also discussing openly with staff regarding information about new changes. Christa has found thoughtful and meaningful ways to collect ideas and information from the staff in order to implement new procedures throughout Juvenile Court. And she continually shows her support of staff through different committees she has created such as the staff advisory committee and the procedures workgroup committee. Christa is constantly at the pulse of what is going on throughout the court system and is always at the helm of what the “next steps” involve. Christa’s mentality regarding change is not whether we are going to do something, but how we are going to achieve it successfully. Christa has also taken the time to help court users understand the e-filing system by answering questions and providing training. Christa also initiated the “video project” in Juvenile Court to help court users know what to expect when they come to court. She embraces everything in a positive light and lets her excitement show about new changes throughout the courts. Above all, the coach/mentor of the year in 2015 is consistent with her follow-through. Using all of these skills, she has gained the trust of her staff, the bench, and court partners.
Andrew Pieper and DeAnn Hallberg
Andrew Pieper, Fourth Judicial District Deputy Administrator
In just over three years, Andrew has demonstrated an instinctive ability to earn the respect and trust of others throughout the justice system, to lead by example with a high degree of character and integrity, and ultimately deliver results for the judges, court staff, and citizens of the Fourth Judicial District and the State of Minnesota. Andrew Pieper was initially hired as a court operations analyst with primary responsibility for preparing, monitoring, and analyzing district court budgets. In his previous budget analyst role, Andrew quickly established himself as a trusted and credible force to guide the Fourth District judges’ budget and executive committee in making decisions regarding district financial resources. He has rewritten and simplified budget reports making it easier for judge committee members to understand the critical information being presented in them. Instead of waiting to react after the fact, Andrew anticipates issues and does all he can to enable decision makers to get out ahead and be proactive about managing potential problems, always prepared to offer possible solutions. Andrew has been instrumental in leading one of the most ambitious building and remodeling agendas the court has seen since becoming state funded in 2004. Key facilities projects that Andrew is leading include numerous projects intended to locate more court staff and services behind weapons screening. One judge with whom Andrew regularly works described him as follows: “In terms of dependability, Andrew is an absolute rock. Furthermore, he’s not just good at his job; he’s great fun to work with. Part of what makes him such a valuable resource is his approachability – he makes unraveling complicated financial problems almost a pleasure.” Andrew defines career excellence through his relentless motivation, track record for delivering results, extraordinary ability to build and maintain professional business relationships, and ability to organize, direct, manage, and deliver results on projects. He has a proven track record of being able to work effectively with peers, judges, court staff, and partners. He is highly skilled at recommending and implementing ideas to improve services and realize cost-savings and, we believe, one the most innovative leaders in the Minnesota Judicial Branch.
Monica Tschumper, Vicky Carlson, Annette Fritz and Aaron Williamson
Vicky Carlson, Scott County Court Administrator
This year’s Distinguished Service Award winner has worked for the Minnesota courts for over 26 years. She is most deserving of this award as she has also played very important roles in court management associations such as MACM and NACM. In this regard, she has not only had an impact on court administration in Minnesota, but throughout the country. Vicky Carlson is currently serving as the MACM Past President. Prior to being MACM President, and Membership Services Chair, she was a committee member who actively engaged in all activities of that committee including preparing award nomination forms, squaring away vendor show details, implementing the newsletter, and various other membership activities. She has played an important role in encouraging members to step up as committee chairs and has been there for support all along the way. Vicky has been a mentor in this respect, and she sees the potential in others and makes a point of helping to develop their skills and talents, for the good of the court management profession. She has brought numerous ideas from NACM back to Minnesota for consideration, and has implemented several of those, including how to grow and expand the association membership. It is the role of the MACM committees to generate ideas and follow through to prepare the annual conference and Vicky is an inspiration to others in her contributions. Vicky goes above and beyond to help others with MACM. We observe her efforts and commitment to MACM and anticipate that same level of energy to the office where she serves as court administrator and represents the Minnesota Courts.
Jamie Majerus, Marieta Johnson, and Aaron Williamson
Marieta Johnson, Sixth Judicial District Administrator
MACM’s “Champion of Change” award recipient for 2015 is an individual who personifies the qualities outlined in the Champion of Change award criteria. She is truly a persuasive and charismatic leader who is committed to ensuring that change is easier for all employees. She demonstrates her personal commitment by putting effort into articulating her vision for the change she believes is important. When that vision is combined with her approach to life and work – make it fun, engage people, ask the tough questions to get answers that will allow ideas to materialize – change will happen! While there have been many examples throughout this individual’s career when she has exhibited her strong skills as a champion of change, and her patience and persistence in bringing about change, this award nomination highlights a recent example of Marieta Johnson as “Champion of ”. In the summer of 2014, Marieta Johnson, Sixth Judicial District Administrator began s h a r i n g her vision for centralized operations in the Sixth District. With the move to an eCourt environment, she was able to see and articulate the efficiencies which were possible in this new environment. In her role as the District Administrator she has been able to remove barriers to allow court administration to make the necessary changes. Working with court administration, Marieta took the necessary time and asked the right questions to help them determine needed to be done to move the Sixth toward centralized operations. With her background in court administration, her willingness to make the tough decisions and support court administration in any way needed, she was able to see her vision come to fruition. And the timeline for her vision to come to fruition is astounding!
Dave Goddertz and Paul Maatz
Paul Maatz, Ninth Judicial District Administrator
When thinking of worthy recipients of the MACM Lifetime Achievement Award, this individual is hard to overlook. Throughout his 36-plus year career with the Minnesota Courts, this individual has literally seen and experienced it all. Paul is held in high regard by the bench, court managers, and staff alike. Paul has led a small court, large court, and judicial district. He has committed himself to continually watching out for his jurisdiction, and to arguing for the best interests of rural courts, all while maintaining a focus on the judicial branch as a whole. Paul is, and has always been, a fiscal hawk ensuring that public resources are used prudently and appropriately. Paul allows court managers to be managers. Rather than micro-manage, Paul provides support, advice, and guidance and then encourages people to resolve issues and problems themselves Paul is interested in what’s best for the courts, and not what’s best for himself. He is absolutely about the judicial branch and not about self-promotion. Paul would prefer to do work, and then let others step forward and take the credit. Paul is the consummate professional. He is always even keeled and rarely rattled. His approach instills a sense of calm and the feeling that everything will be alright. Paul has been a leader in the Minnesota Courts for many years and has spearheaded change locally and statewide. When Paul started, the courts were still handwriting in books. Now we are “e” everything. Paul was a leader throughout all of that change. His quiet approach to leadership is appreciated and seen as a sign of strength by those who work with him, and for him.