Fanfare for the future

first_imgFanfare for the futureOn 1 Jan 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Trainingand IT experts are about to gather for this year’s Learning Technologies show.Patrick McCurry has a preview of the issues on the table, samples new productsand selects the best of the sessionsKey issues such as how to implement e-learning, whether and how to blendtraining and to what extent outsourcing can relieve the pressure on trainingbudgets will be at the top of the agenda in the latest Learning Technologiesshow. The event, which is aimed at buyers of IT and business skills training,takes place on 30 and 31 January. Conference speakers and exhibitors will befielding some tricky subjects, not least whether the hype surroundinge-learning has been justified. “It’s pretty clear now that some of the wilder claims about e-learningare not holding up and a lot of people are asking what its right role is,”says conference chairman Don Taylor, an independent consultant. “I expect e-learning to exceed the 11 to 14 per cent of training spendthat goes on computer-based training, but it will never reach 50 percent.” He argues that the growing realism about what e-learning can achieve isleading employers to look at blending e-learning with classroom training.”More people are seeing the two as complementary not in competition,”Taylor says. The two keynote speakers are Richard Reeves, head of consultancy at theIndustrial Society, and Nigel Paine, director of Science Year, a Department forEducation and Skills project. Reeves will be speaking on the Industrial Society’s iSociety project[Thursday, 3.30pm]. This is a major three- to five-year examination of therelationship between work, life and information and communications technology(ICT), and is supported by Microsoft. The project was launched last April. One of the main themes in the earlyresearch, to be included in the project’s first annual report in May, has beenhow ICT is influencing the workplace. Reeves says, “Investment in IT often fails to deliver the productivitygains organisations expect because the technical changes are not accompanied bychanges in people management.” For example, companies may invest in web-based or mobile phone technologiesthat increase workplace flexibility but still insist staff clock in and offrigidly, he says. If IT investment is not accompanied by changes in how staff are managed, alack of trust builds up. “Instead of seeing new technology as a liberator,many employees regard it with suspicion, seeing it as a way for their employerto monitor them,” says Reeves. In the opening keynote speech [Wednesday, 10am] Nigel Paine will be arguingthat the way new technology is used in schools will be crucial in determiningthe UK’s future skills base and creativity. “There’s a lot of investment going into technology in schools, whichwill transform the relationship between teachers and pupils,” he says. But for young people to take full advantage of the opportunities offered bycomputer-based and web-based learning the education system will have to shift,Paine argues. “There are two conflicting pulls, one supporting creativity andinnovation through the use of technology and the other focusing on standardsand exam results. “There’s going to be a problem if young people are doing brilliantmultimedia presentations and investigating and analysing data throughtechnology but then have their performance judged on regurgitating receivedopinion in exams.” The conference is split into two streams, learning issues and e-learning. Onthe learning issues side, one of the key debates will be on what 2002 holds. “Training budgets are being cut and there’s a continued trend ofdevolving training spend to line managers,” says Alan Bellinger, salesdirector at Wave Technologies and chairman of the learning issues stream. Training managers are increasingly not choosing what training will bedelivered, he says, but instead being left with the job of implementing it andpicking up the pieces when things go wrong. But trends in 2002 offer some comfort for training managers, he believes,”E-learning is helping organisations deliver training more cheaply andmany providers are cutting prices and offering training in bite-sized chunks,which means staff are off work for less time,” he says. “Also, unlike classroom training, e-learning decisions tend to be morecentralised, which gives training managers more input into what’sselected.” Bellinger also highlights the seminar on blended training. “For ITtraining there’s a growing recognition of the benefits of teaching staff thebasics and principles by e-learning and then giving them hands-on training inthe classroom,” he says. “This approach can cut the total training days needed significantly,while using the best of both approaches, but the problem is, many providersonly offer classroom or e-learning training, so it’s often left up to the userto work out the blend.” Other key seminars in the learning issue stream include outsourcing ITtraining [Wednesday, 3.30pm] and tendering for training [Thursday, 2pm]. Taylor says, “With current pressures on budgets, more people arethinking about outsourcing, but they’re often not sure what should andshouldn’t be contracted out. “On the tendering issue, many people in IT training have never put outa tender for a big contract and so don’t know how to find the right people andhow to run the tender process.” In the e-learning stream is a seminar on avoiding implementation pitfalls[Wednesday, 3.30pm]. Speaker Jonathan Kettleborough, managing director oftechnical training provider Corollis, says the most common error is introducingsystems without preparing staff. “When I speak to people who have implemented e-learning but encounteredproblems they always say if they were doing it again they’d spend far more timeon communicating the changes with staff.” He adds that it is impossible to overestimate the importance of gettingstaff to buy into the idea of e-learning and to establish a receptive culture,rather than imposing a system and expecting it to work from day one. Taylor reinforces the message, saying, “One of the key messages in theconference will be that too much attention has often been paid to thetechnology but without enough thought about how people want to learn.” When and where– Learning Technologies 2002 runsover two days, Wednesday 30 and Thursday 31 January, at the Olympia ConferenceCentre, London (Kensington Olympia tube station).– It is Europe’s largest gathering of IT training ande-learning providers.– The conference consists of two tracks (learning issues ande-learning) with six sessions in each track plus keynote speeches. – It runs from 9.45am to 3.30pm on the first day and from 10amto 3.30pm on the second, with registration on both days from 9am.– The delegate rate for the two days is £795 plus VAT. – Entry to the exhibition is free.– For information or to register visit www.learningtechnologies.co.ukContactsFor more information about thecompanies mentioned in this supplement, contact them on the phone numbers andat the websites below:blueU 01225 483100, www.blueU.comCentra Software 01628 509023, www.centra.comDocent 0118 965 3472 www.docent.comElearnity 020-7917 1870, www.elearnity.comFuturemedia 01243 558553, www.futuremedia.co.ukGlobal Knowledge 0845 304 0044, www.globalknowledge.co.ukKnowledgePool 0800 7831765, www.knowledgepool.comLogilent 01793 644067, www.logilent.comNETg 0800 442285, www.netg.comQA Training 01285 883334, www.qa.comSessions not to miss– Claude Gerbaud, technology training manager at Compaq, willbe presenting his company’s experience of blended learning [Wednesday, 2pm]– Don’t miss Big Bang or Steady Evolution, [Wednesday, 2pm]when David Clarke, founder of Logilent Learning Systems, goes head to head withPeter McClintock, director of e-learning at Global Knowledge– Industry experts give their insights into the future ofe-learning and what tools will be hot this year at Where Next [Thursday, 2pm]– Avoid the pitfalls of e-learning with Richard Monks,e-learning practice manager at accountants KPMG [Wednesday, 3.30pm]– Steve Preston, head of development and training at INGBarings, gives his views on buying IT training from a single source [Wednesday,3.30pm]– Benchmark your IT training and e-learning with Ayesha Okhai,skills group manager at Microsoft UK, and Gill Honey, IT training manager atNew International Newspapers [Thursday, 10am]Big names, new productsThere will be more than 100exhibitors, including most of the big names in e-learning and technology-basedtraining, at the event. Among those launching products at the exhibition are:– Centra Software will demonstrate its web-based virtualclassroom, conference, meeting, knowledge and delivery systems. “We willbe unveiling how a multinational company will implement our technology todeliver real-time courses to train over 10,000 staff in 30 countries,”says a spokeswoman.– Consensus, which supplies training admin systems, willdemonstrate the latest version of its CourseBooker product, aimed atorganisations that need to market, sell and administer courses. – Docent will promote its acquisition of gForce inOctober and, the acquisition of its technology for creating and distributinglearning content. “Their technology allows us to offer an expandedsolution for the delivery of content, learning and information,” says aDocent spokeswoman.– Electric Paper, a Dublin-based e-learning company,will highlight its work in Australia to radically improve the IT skills of over3,000 staff in Queensland’s Office of Child Care. The campaign, carried outwith Skillgate Pty, has been short-listed in the International Training Projectof the Year in the 2002 Institute of IT Training Awards.– Global Knowledge launches what it calls the firstpan-European virtual classroom e-learning programme. It consists of fivecourses so far and will be delivered in five languages.– John Matchett will demonstrate its recently releasedLMS Version 5. The integrated e-learning facility is based on standardtechnology platforms that will fit with customers’ existing infrastructures.– KnowledgePool will launch Talent Solutions, a group oftailored modules, based on web technology, designed to support all aspects ofpersonal development within an organisation.– Logilent Learning Systems, a leading provider ofweb-enabled training for IT professionals, will be making a major announcement.– NETg will showcase its latest products in mobile andblended learning and will unveil its vision for intelligent-learning solutionsas well as its professional development library, NETg Pro-S.last_img read more

HR: Does business hours mean all hours?

first_img Has “normal business hours” become a thing of the past? These days, I rarely meet anyone who almost immediately following waking up in the morning, wont grab their phone from the bedside to check their email, or who considers their nights to be personal or family time, which not so long ago seemed the norm. What is it about modern day issues and work problems that are more important than those that we were facing years ago that can’t wait until the next day? Or is it a simple case that our ability to prioritize is being depleted due to such ease of systems access which allows many organisations’ staff to turn any computer, laptop, tablet or mobile device into a make-shift work station?I’m as guilty as the next person of the late night emails and struggling to switch off but I’m one of the lucky ones who enjoys what I do enough that it doesn’t feel like a chore. What about those who aren’t as lucky and feel like they don’t have the pressure release of being able to go home and un-wind?Human nature dictates that if we get too used to something, it becomes habitual and we begin to expect it. This being the case, if this isn’t carefully managed, how long will it be before being “switched on” at all times is an expected part of a job as opposed to it being a sign of an engaged and happy employee who will strive to go above and beyond any contractual obligations? Don’t get me wrong, the huge emphasis which these days is placed on interoperability and mobility of internal systems of course is a great thing and phenomenal feat in technology advancement but with it comes the potential for more risk, more pressure and more un-happy staff if it is not managed well. Read full article Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Articlecenter_img HR: Does business hours mean all hours?Shared from missc on 9 Dec 2014 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Exodus over? NYC expected to turn corner in April

first_img Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink The number of temporary and permanent change of address requests for leaving the city totaled 832,388 in 2020, which is 233,091 more requests than 2019. Post offices received 339,990 requests for permanent and temporary address changes from Manhattan to locations outside the city and to other boroughs between March 2020 and January 2021, according to the report. During that time, the post office received 222,552 such requests from households in Brooklyn and 153,295 for households in Queens.The report credits the gradual recovery of rent rates, which have dropped significantly in the past year, and job growth for slowing the exodus from the city. The report’s authors believe that as companies adopt hybrid work models, allowing their employees to work both in the office and remotely, “most people working for companies with offices in the City will live in the City, even if they are farther out in the boroughs.”Contact Kathryn Brenzel The number of temporary and permanent change of address requests for leaving the city totaled 832,388 in 2020. (iStock)An exodus of New Yorkers to pieds-à-terre, new suburban homes or in some cases, South Florida, may finally be over.By April, the influx of people coming to New York City is expected to outpace those who jump ship, according to a new report by real estate consultant Nancy Packes Data Services and Eastdil Secured.The gap between the number of households filing a request to change their address from a city ZIP code to one outside the city and the number of households moving into the city has gradually decreased since May 2020. The report found that post offices received 66,714 change of address requests for households looking to move out of the city and 48,603 requests for those moving to the city in January, which is the most recent data available.ADVERTISEMENTRead moreThere’s an exodus from NYC but can it last?February saw another 13-year high in Manhattan, Brooklyn leasingThe Hamptons’ rental market’s endless summer Tags Share via Shortlink Full Name* Message* CoronavirusHousing MarketRental MarketTri-state Email Address*last_img read more

Cross-hemisphere migration of a 25 g songbird

first_imgThe northern wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) is a small (approx. 25 g), insectivorous migrant with one of the largest ranges of any songbird in the world, breeding from the eastern Canadian Arctic across Greenland, Eurasia and into Alaska (AK). However, there is no evidence that breeding populations in the New World have established overwintering sites in the Western Hemisphere. Using light-level geolocators, we demonstrate that individuals from these New World regions overwinter in northern sub-Sahara Africa, with Alaskan birds travelling approximately 14 500 km each way and an eastern Canadian Arctic bird crossing a wide stretch of the North Atlantic (approx. 3500 km). These remarkable journeys, particularly for a bird of this size, last between one to three months depending on breeding location and season (autumn/spring) and result in mean overall migration speeds of up to 290 km d−1. Stable-hydrogen isotope analysis of winter-grown feathers sampled from breeding birds generally support the notion that Alaskan birds overwinter primarily in eastern Africa and eastern Canadian Arctic birds overwinter mainly in western Africa. Our results provide the first evidence of a migratory songbird capable of linking African ecosystems of the Old World with Arctic regions of the New World.last_img read more

BYU to face Navy in prime-time Labor Day matchup on ESPN

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPROVO, Utah (Aug. 6, 2020)—BYU will open the 2020 football season in a nationally featured game on ESPN against the Naval Academy on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 7, at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. EDT/6 p.m. MDT.  “We are very excited for the opportunity to play the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis,” said BYU Director of Athletics Tom Holmoe. “It’s always an honor and a privilege to play against a service academy, like we did annually for many years with Air Force. We first played the Midshipmen in the inaugural Holiday Bowl in 1978. The opportunity to visit Navy’s hallowed campus will be an amazing experience for our football team.”The Labor Day contest is part of a two-game series with Navy. Details for the game at LaVell Edwards Stadium will be announced at a later date.  The 2019 Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy champion, Navy is coming off an 11-2 season that included a 7-1 resume as the West Division co-champions in the American Athletic Conference. The Midshipmen defeated Kansas State in the 2019 Liberty Bowl to tie the Naval Academy record of 11 wins and finish the season ranked No. 20 in both the final national polls. “Speaking on behalf of our players and coaches, we are extremely excited for this opportunity to play Navy on Labor Day to open the 2020 season and appreciate all the work put in by Tom Holmoe and Navy to schedule this game,” BYU head coach Kalani Sitake said. “Navy plays great football and we have the utmost appreciation and respect for all of the sacrifices the members of the military academies make on all of our behalf. Ken (Nuimatalolo) is a great football coach and a personal friend who I have known since I was young and always admired both as a person and as a coach. We are looking forward to the matchup.” The Labor Day game will mark the third meeting between BYU and Navy. The two teams met in the inaugural Holiday Bowl in 1978 with Navy coming away with a 23-16 victory. BYU gained revenge in 1989 when the Cougars traveled to Annapolis and won 31-10.The Cougars and Midshipmen will also participate in the first true night game at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium since 2005, when Navy lost a hard fought 40-38 game to Stanford.Prior to recent schedule changes made by the FBS conferences in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, BYU was slated to face rival Utah in its opener while Navy was originally scheduled to face Notre Dame in a series that had taken place each season since 1927—the longest continuous intersectional rivalry in college football at 93 games. BYU will continue to announce additional games for the 2020 season as they are finalized.  Written by Tags: BYU Cougars Football/Navy Midshipmen August 6, 2020 /Coronavirus (COVID-19) related news and sports stories, Sports News – Local BYU to face Navy in prime-time Labor Day matchup on ESPN Robert Lovelllast_img read more

Merriweather Post Pavilion Reopens Following Roof Collapse

first_imgBack in January, the roof on Merriweather Post Pavilion, the beloved outdoor concert venue in Columbia, Maryland, collapsed. The venue was acting on renovation plans that have been in the works since 2015, with the majority of the work being done centered on raising the pavilion’s roof from 33 feet high to 53 feet high. With the new roof almost in its new position, before it could be secured, the roof unexpected collapsed during a particularly windy night. However, after the news broke, the venue assured fans that they’d be able to reopen before the 2018 concert season. With a crew working round the clock with a shortened 3-and-a-half month timeline, this week, Merriweather Post Pavilion has announced that, true to their word, they have reopened for the 2018 season.As reported by WAMU 88.5, Audrey Fix Schaefer, the communications director for the I.M.P., the company that runs Merriweather Post Pavilion, explained that the roof collapsing was actually a blessing in disguise, noting “It was way easier to start over” than renovate the structure, like they were originally planning. She also notes that while the pavilion looks identical, it now sports new lighting, improved acoustics, a more sound structure, and new seating.She also added that at the end of the day, the most important thing is that no one was injured when the roof initially collapsed, adding that “Honestly, that’s the only thing that matters… Everything else, people write checks for.”Merriweather Post Pavilion opened to the public this weekend, hosting M3 Rock Festival, an 80s glam-rock lineup festival on Friday and Saturday. For more information about MPP’s 2018 summer lineup, which includes two nights of Phish in August in addition to Robert Plant, Ray LaMontagne, Foo Fighters, Dispatch, David Byrne, you can head here.[H/T WAMU]last_img read more

HSPH-India Health Partnership aims to strengthen public health efforts

first_img Read Full Story A new initiative at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) aims to formalize and build on longstanding ties between the School and India. The new effort — the HSPH-India Health Partnership (HSPH-IHP) — will support and help coordinate the School’s wide range of existing research and educational activities in India, as well as encourage new ventures.Peter Berman, professor of the practice of global health systems and economics in the Department of Global Health and Population (GHP), is coordinating the new initiative.HSPH has been involved in research and educational efforts on the Indian subcontinent since the 1950s. Currently, nearly two dozen researchers and faculty members from the School are conducting research, teaching, and working to translate research into practice across the region, in collaboration with a range of local partners.“The School established a formal China Initiative in 2005 to help coordinate many of our public health efforts in the most populous nation in the world,” said HSPH Dean Julio Frenk in an announcement about the new initiative. “India is the world’s second most populous country — and projected to become the world’s most populous by 2030.last_img read more

U.S.’ largest battery storage system begins operation in California, much more in the pipeline

first_imgU.S.’ largest battery storage system begins operation in California, much more in the pipeline FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Power plant developers LS Power Group and Terra-Gen LLC added two big new lithium-ion battery stations to the California ISO’s expanding portfolio of electrochemical energy storage in June, marking the start of a potential sevenfold jump in battery resources on the state’s primary power system in 2020.That includes the initial 62.5-MW phase of LS Power’s planned 250-MW Gateway Energy Storage Project, which came online June 9, one week after 16.5 MW of battery storage at Terra-Gen’s Mojave 90 wind-storage hybrid project entered service, CAISO data shows.Located next to the natural gas-fired Otay Mesa Generating Project in San Diego County near the U.S.-Mexico border, LS Power’s Gateway system is now the largest operational battery storage facility in the United States, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data. The previous biggest system, LS Power’s 40-MW Vista Energy Storage facility, is also in San Diego County.“Utility-scale battery energy storage projects such as LS Power’s Gateway and Vista projects are effective ways to enhance grid reliability and reduce costs to consumers by shifting energy from midday solar production hours to the evening peak,” John King, LS Power’s executive vice president for renewables, said in an email.Battery storage is a critical part of California’s strategy to replace retiring natural gas generation while balancing rising volumes of variable renewable energy resources, especially solar power, that are increasingly curtailed in the middle of the day amid power oversupplies.Together, the two new projects boosted energy storage on the state’s primary transmission system to roughly 215 MW, from 136 MW at the start of the year, a CAISO official said. If all of the energy storage projects seeking 2020 interconnection remain on track, the grid operator expects to have roughly 923 MW of battery storage online by the end of 2020.[Garrett Hering]More ($): Most powerful U.S. battery system charges up in Calif. storage surgelast_img read more

Unified family court petition filed

first_imgThis proposal brings statewide uniformity in the approach that circuits will use in implementing unified family court. At the same time, it permits a circuit that has good cause to deviate from that approach to demonstrate to the Court another plan to accomplish unified family court objectives. requiring circuits that find it necessary to depart from “one family one judge” to submit an alternative plan to the Court, circuits will be able to employ policies that will equally coordinate judicial efforts for the benefit of the families and children in their courts but will also be held accountable for carrying out their policies. Elements of Unified Family Court Also in Family Courts IV, this Court adopted twelve essential elements for a model family court. Family Courts IV at 522-524. In the interim, legislation to implement Revision 7 passed which enumerated fourteen “elements” for state court funding. Chapter 2003-402, Laws of Florida. Although there is some common language between the two, the elements listed and their definitions are not the same. The Steering Committee recommends that the Court adopt and further articulate the fundamental components of Florida’s unified family courts in order that the trial courts may accomplish the goal of providing a comprehensive approach to cases involving children and families. Regardless of whether the Court provides a specific program or service, all fundamental components require adequate funding. Florida’s unified family courts should have all of the following: 1) Judges, magistrates, and hearing officers so that the court may offer adequate hearing time to resolve disputes promptly. 2) The means to provide meaningful access to the courts and court-ordered programs regardless of whether the parties have legal representation. Procedures, facilities, financial requirements, and English fluency/literacy should not serve as barriers. 3) Sufficient case management staff and adequate technology to accomplish management and coordination of all related cases involving the same family. Case management must include: a. Intake and assistance to self-represented parties, including forms and information prior to filing, and review of initial pleadings to ensure that the necessary forms are filed. For example, as the Clerk is required to provide forms for domestic violence petition to parties, the Clerk must also provide a UCCJEA affidavit when children are involved and a financial affidavit when spousal or child support is requested. Initial pleadings should be checked to ensure that all forms are complete before the case is sent to the judge so that prompt and responsive rulings can be made and to assure judicial efficiency. b. Early evaluation of cases for differentiated case processing tracks and proper assignment. For example, cases involving domestic violence should be identified and managed in a manner that ensures safety, is sensitive to the special dynamics involved, and permits timely disposition of identified domestic violence issues. c. Case monitoring, tracking, and scheduling, to ensure timely processing and disposition and avoid entry of inconsistent orders or duplicative hearings. d. Coordination of service referrals to appropriate court-based and community services and educational programs, and monitoring compliance with court orders requiring the parties’ participation. e. Coordination with the clerk to identify and coordinate open and closed cases involving the same family members and to review files to assure that they are complete and cases are ready for hearing or trial. 4) Alternative dispute resolution processes must be readily available at all stages of the case, for all or selected issues, to minimize conflict and to reduce the need for adversarial hearings and the resulting stress on family members. 5) Adequate representation of the children involved, whether that requires the appointment of counsel, a guardian ad litem, or attorney ad litem. 6) Access to evaluations concerning issues affecting the family, including custody and visitation investigations, mental health assessments, Batterers Intervention compliance, and drug/alcohol testing and assessments. 7) A FLAG (Family Law Advisory Group) shall be established/maintained to support and improve the unified family court and provide the means for the service needs of families to be recognized and met through collaboration with the community and external resources. 8) Adequate security personnel, equipment, and procedures to ensure that unified family court facilities are safe for judges, magistrates/hearing officers, court staff, parties, children, lawyers, and the public. 9) Educational and professional development opportunities for judges, general magistrates, hearing officers, and court staff, which focus upon issues that arise in family-related conflict and directly affect children, such as: substantive and procedural family law, principles of child development, family systems, mental health, substance abuse, behavioral sciences, mediation, family violence, sexual abuse, and substantive information about programs available in the community which address the basic needs of children and families, including economic assistance, health care programs, literacy, public transportation, substance abuse programs, emergency shelters, and outreach programs. 10) Technology and related training to use case management systems and a unique identifier for each family member for case coordination, to provide teleconferencing and appearance of witnesses by electronic means, and to create a permanent electronic or stenographic court record of all family court proceedings. Coordination of Unified Family Court Cases with Non-Family Law Cases Involving the Same Family Questions have arisen about the coordination of a family’s multiple cases involving its members. Judges can best serve families when they possess as much case-related information as possible. This information allows judges to draft more comprehensive rulings to reduce the possibility of conflicting or incomplete orders. Obviously, judges’ rulings must be based upon the record before them. Thus there is conflict between judges being fully informed about every case involving the same family and ensuring strict adherence to the principle that the record be the exclusive basis of a court’s rulings. Judges must balance parties’ due process rights with gathering the necessary information for decision-making. Therefore, by a vote of 19-0: The Steering Committee requests a clarification of the ability of judges to confer with each other about pending cases. When families are also involved in criminal or other civil cases not included in the traditional jurisdiction of the unified family court, judges should be informed of those cases so that they may be able to coordinate those cases to the extent legally permissible, and use the information to ensure that consistent rulings are made, and the safety of litigants and interests of children are served. Unified family court petition filed Although the Steering Committee does not at this time make a specific recommendation regarding the assignment and rotation of circuit judges in the family division, the Steering Committee robustly debated the issue and a majority of those members present were in favor of an amendment to the Rules of Judicial Administration. The Steering Committee revisited the recommendations in Family Courts IV and acknowledged that this issue goes beyond assignment and rotation for family matters. Chief judges face a myriad of very complex factors that can affect assignment decision-making for all divisions of court. Some members of the public perceive that new or inadequately experienced judges are disproportionately assigned to the family division. Regardless of the actual number of judges so assigned, the Steering Committee is mindful of the centrality of this issue to the future of Florida’s courts. The Steering Committee has had the benefit of many previous recommendations as well as this Court’s opinions in working on unified family court and seeks final resolution by this Court on the issues raised herein to ensure efficient justice for all Floridians. WHEREFORE, the Steering Committee on Families and Children in the Court respectfully requests that this Court enter an opinion adopting the unified family court recommendations contained herein. (Footnotes) 1 The Commission on Family Courts had recommended that “[t]he jurisdiction of the family division should include dissolution of marriage, simplified dissolution of marriage, child custody and support, URESA, domestic violence, name changes, adoptions, paternity suits, [and] modification proceedings; and each circuit should consider inclusion of juvenile dependency and delinquency matters at least for administrative purposes. In re: Report of the Commission on Family Courts, 588 So. 2d 586, 587 (Fla. 1991)(first brackets supplied). 2 The Eleventh Judicial Circuit has provided valuable input to the Court in this regard. See Family Courts I at 590; Family Courts III at 180-181; and Family Courts IV at 525, 531-532. 3 This includes at a minimum, those cases enumerated in recommendation #2 and adopted by the Supreme Court in Family Courts IV as well as those set forth in the proposed amendment to Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.085(d), now under consideration by the Court. For. pdf version of petition visit: http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/clerk/comments/2005/05-1287_petition.pdfThe Steering Committee on Families and Children in the Court (Steering Committee) has petitioned the Florida Supreme Court to adopt its recommendations concerning the following aspects of unified family court: 1) the need for one administrative family law judge; 2) “one family one judge” system; 3) clarification of the elements of unified family court; and 4) coordination of unified family court cases with non-family law cases involving the same family. The court invites all interested persons to comment on the Steering Committee’s recommendations, which are reproduced in full below, as well as online at www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/proposed.shtml. An original and nine paper copies of all comments must be filed with the court on or before October 5, with a certificate of service verifying that a copy has been served on the committee chair, Judge Robert Morris, 14250 49th Street North, Clearwater 33762, as well as a separate request for oral argument if the person filing the comment wishes to participate in oral argument, which may be scheduled in this case. Electronic copies of all comments also must be filed in accordance with the Court’s Administrative Order In Re: Mandatory Submission of Electronic Copies of Documents, Fla. Admin. Order No. AOSC04-84 (Sept. 13, 2004). IN THE SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA IN RE: PETITION OF THE STEERING COMMITTEE ON FAMILIES AND CHILDREN IN THE COURT TO ADOPT RECOMMENDATIONS FOR UNIFIED FAMILY COURT, CASE NO. SC05-1287 PETITION OF THE STEERING COMMITTEE ON FAMILIES AND CHILDREN IN THE COURT TO ADOPT RECOMMENDATIONS FOR UNIFIED FAMILY COURT The Steering Committee on Families and Children in the Court (“Steering Committee), by and through its chair, Circuit Judge Robert Morris, submits this Petition of the Steering Committee pursuant to this Court’s August 25, 2004 Administrative Order AOSC04-25 (hereinafter “Administrative Order”). The current Steering Committee members have drawn upon their own collective experience as well as the accomplishments of the former family court committees. The efforts of these committees focus exclusively on improving the way Florida’s courts respond to the complex needs of children and families. The recommendations contained in this petition build upon earlier accomplishments and seek to end any remaining ambiguities surrounding unified family court. Since 1991, the vanguard of the judicial branch’s efforts to improve family and juvenile courts 1 h as been through the establishment and growth of unified family courts, which can be traced to this Court’s seminal decision in In re: Report of the Commission on Family Courts, 588 So. 2d 586 (Fla. 1991)(“ Family Courts I ”). The Commission was established by the legislature in chapter 90-273, Laws of Florida. That legislation directed the Commission to: (1) develop specific guidelines for implementation of a family law division within each judicial circuit; (2) provide recommendations for statutory, rule and organizational changes; and (3) recommend necessary support services. Id. at 587. Two and a half years later, this Court wrote “to further refine and implement the family court divisions of the circuit courts initially established by [Family Courts I]. ” In re: Report of the Commission on Family Courts, 633 So. 2d 14, 16 (Fla. 1994)(“ Family Courts II ”). A key concept of the unified family court contemplated by Family Courts II was to have just one judge address all of the legal needs of a family. A one family one judge system provides a comprehensive and efficient way for courts to address the multiple legal issues facing a family. In Family Courts II, the Court acknowledged that [a]lthough it would be preferable to have one judge decide all matters pertaining to the same family, we recognize it may not yet be feasible. However, in all instances, all judges handling some aspects of a family’s litigation and not others must be made aware of all pending matters in the courts that involve all family members. Id. at 17 n.2. In 1994, legislative changes related to the handling of violations of domestic violence injunctions prompted this Court “to clarify issues regarding the implementation and operation of family law divisions in the circuit courts of this State.” In re: Report of the Commission on Family Courts, 646 So. 2d 178, 179 (Fla. 1994)(“ Family Courts III ”). This Court also “approve[d] the local rules and administrative orders establishing family law divisions in each of the circuits.. . . ” Id. at 182. Most recently, this Court heard from the successor to the Commission, the Family Court Steering Committee, which submitted a report with carefully considered recommendations that resulted in the Supreme Court’s opinion in In re: Report of the Family Court Steering Committee, 794 So. 2d 518 (Fla. 2001)(“ Family Courts IV ”). After that opinion, the state court system was then transformed by implementation of the voters’ will as embodied by Revision 7 to Article V of the Florida Constitution. As a result, court support resources such as magistrates, case managers, and mediation for family cases are now more available statewide. In the four years since this Court issued its opinion in Family Courts IV, the unified family court model has been operational in sufficiently diverse areas to demonstrate that it is effective statewide and that it achieves the stated goal of a model family court. However, trial courts have suggested that Family Courts IV does not provide sufficiently specific directions or mandates on certain key components of the model. This petition asks the Court to revisit certain issues, to clarify other aspects, and to help fully realize unified family court at the trial level. Although application of the Family Courts IV opinion has not been without challenge, the judges who practice the principles of the unified family court system have overcome any initial wariness and whole-heartedly embrace unified family court as the most effective and efficient means of resolving family matters. Indeed, they do not want to “go back” to their pre-existing systems. Thus, the continuing beneficial practices employed across the state have increased confidence in the statewide development and improvement of unified family court. Application of the principles and practices advanced in Family Courts IV has varied throughout the state. While all circuits strive to enhance the way in which they handle the cases involving children and families, some have achieved greater success than others in “creating a fully integrated, comprehensive approach to handling all cases involving children and families.. . . ” See Family Courts II at 17. For these reasons, the purpose of this petition is to request this Court to rule on several important issues the Committee considers essential for trial courts to realize the Court’s articulated vision. The Steering Committee hereby submits its recommendations on the following aspects of unified family court: 1) the need for one administrative family law judge; 2) “one family one judge”; 3) clarification of the elements of unified family court; and 4) coordination of unified family court cases with non-family law cases involving the same family. Administrative Family Law Judge Without a specific directive, institutional change is difficult. In Family Courts IV, the Supreme Court considered, inter alia, the recommendation that it “require the chief judge of each circuit to appoint an administrative family law judge for the circuit and give the administrative judge authority to oversee and coordinate the circuit’s family initiative.” Family Courts IV at 531. Nonetheless, the Court “decline[d] to mandate the appointment of an administrative family division judge. Instead, we leave it to each circuit to devise a plan for coordination of cases within the family division to achieve the goals of the model family court.” Id. at 532. Unfortunately, some circuits now feel that they have complied with this Court’s requirements merely by writing a plan. Again, we recognize that institutional change is difficult, however, every available alternative short of a mandate has now been attempted, including site visits, conferences, judicial education programs and seminars, and personal encouragement. Not all circuits, however, are complying with the spirit of this Court’s goal. Therefore, the Court must now mandate that each circuit appoint one administrative family law judge. At its May 2005 meeting, Steering Committee members recognized the variations of population and geography amongst and within Florida’s twenty judicial circuits. 2 C ertainly it is understandable that the individual needs of twenty different judicial circuits merit some degree of variation in their respective development of unified family court. More importantly, however, distinctions between circuits are less significant than the public need for the effective and efficient handling of family cases. The quest to serve Florida’s families more efficiently is too important to be undermined by individual circuit’s self-perceived inabilities to comply. All judicial circuits, regardless of population or size, must adopt the unified family court model. Furthermore, the circuits which have accomplished the most have done so under the guidance of a single administrative family law judge, who has the authority to supervise and coordinate unified family court efforts for the entire circuit. As a result, the Steering Committee, by a vote of 22-0, reiterates the Family Court Steering Committee’s recommendation 5(b) and unanimously requests that this Court direct that: The chief judge of each circuit shall appoint one administrative family law judge for the entire circuit who shall have the authority to supervise and coordinate the circuit’s unified family court initiative. The chief judge may appoint associate administrative judges for individual counties or specialized divisions including, but not limited to, domestic relations, domestic violence, juvenile dependency, and juvenile delinquency, and those judges shall report to the administrative family law judge. All judges shall be responsible to the chief judge, shall have the power and duty to carry out the responsibilities assigned by the chief judge, and shall serve in their administrative capacities at the pleasure of the chief judge. See also Family Courts IV at 531. This proposal provides flexibility to chief judges, who still retain oversight over all judges in their circuit, to use associate administrative judges to accommodate their circuit’s distinctive needs while simultaneously imposing a single administrative judge to provide judicial leadership to put into practice unified family court objectives, whether in a single county or a multi-county judicial circuit. This administrative structure brings the proper focus to the parties we serve and what they experience when coming to the courthouse. One recent demonstration of the sort of pitfalls avoided by unified family court involved an adoption petition that was not heard on the merits because it was filed in the family division rather than the dependency division. C.S. v. I.V., 899 So. 2d 444, 445-446 (Fla. 4th DCA 2005)(affirming order denying motions for entry of a final judgment and for rehearing). As succinctly stated by the Fourth District Court of Appeal: [t]his case provides a perfect example of the procedural quagmire faced by litigants in attempting to navigate the legal system within the independent divisions of the court. It is for this very reason that our supreme court has advocated the establishment of a Unified Family Court where one judge can resolve the various legal issues affecting one family. Id. at 446 citing Family Courts IV. The Steering Committee therefore requests that this Court require the appointment of a single administrative family law judge within each circuit. “One Family One Judge” There is inherent confusion in the very name of this approach. All unified family court cases should involve a team of dedicated professionals working to assist families and children in crisis. The question then is whether the courts employ a one family one judge (who works with a team of people) or a one family one team of judges (who each work with various team members) approach. The experiences over the last several years demonstrates that permitting the one team of judges approach has allowed many circuits to obfuscate the operation of any meaningful unified family court. In Family Courts IV, this Court contemplated coordination of multiple cases for the same family and the use of either the “one family one judge” or the “one family one team” approach. Family Courts IV at 529. However, a majority of the Steering Committee now believes that the “team” approach is frequently employed in ways that are insufficient to operate unified family court principles without fulfilling the intent: to establish a comprehensive approach coordinating all judicial efforts in cases affecting the same family, regardless of the sometimes necessary geographical separation of courthouse facilities or the manner in which dockets for different types of cases are structured and managed. Family Courts II at 17. A family with multiple cases will necessarily be working with a “team” consisting of various individuals such as a judge, a court case manager, lawyers, a guardian ad litem, and a domestic violence advocate. Nonetheless, a single judge, dedicated to the potential primary family issues, is crucial to the realization of the unified family court. This is not the first time this Court has been asked to adopt the “one family one judge” approach. See Family Courts I at 587 (recommendation that “[e]ach circuit should develop a procedure that will provide a means to assign all current family law matters, including matters involving juvenile dependency and delinquency proceedings that [affect] one family, to one judge”). Experience has shown that the most effective approach is one in which all family matters are heard by the same judge. This Court recognized that “if all cases involving the same family are identified and assigned to a single judge, many of [the] problems of coordination and confidentiality will be eliminated.” Family Courts IV at 526. Therefore, by a vote of 17-5, the Steering Committee recommends that this Court mandate that: All judicial circuits shall provide a case coordination system that results in related family cases 3 b eing assigned to the same judge, commonly referred to as “one family – one judge.” Experience has shown that the family court described by the Supreme Court in Family Courts IV is not accomplished unless the “one family one judge” principle is implemented in each circuit. Chief judges can accomplish this task without delay. The “one family one judge” principle shall be the standard. A departure from implementing the standard may be permitted by the Supreme Court upon a showing of good cause, in writing by the chief judge, together with a plan to accomplish the standard. center_img Unified family court petition filed September 1, 2005 Regular Newslast_img read more