April 18th, 2023
We have been talking about various aspects of employee recruitment and selection, often as it intersects with diversity, equity, and inclusion. This brought up the topic of the power imbalance surrounding employee selection. Traditionally, job candidates enter the selection process in a powerless and sometimes even in a belittling position.
The NACM Model Code of Conduct, Canon 1.4 states “A court professional treats litigants, co-workers, and all others interacting with the court with dignity, respect, and courtesy.” So, the questions arise:
- Is the power imbalance in the hiring process real?
- Is it disrespectful to job candidates?
- Do we who hire court employees actually have any interest in altering that power imbalance?
Most of us have been on both sides of the interview table. And most of us can agree that applying for a job can be competitive and it can be nerve-wracking; can it also be demeaning?
- Karl Thoennes, Court Administrator for the Second Judicial Circuit Court, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
- Rick Pierce, Judicial Programs Administrator for the Pennsylvania Administrative Office of the Courts.
- Liz Rambo, Trial Court Administrator for the Lane County Circuit Court in Eugene Oregon. Liz is the recipient of the 2023 Warren E. Burger award for excellence in court administration.
Click here to listen to the podcast. The video is 34:06 long and the audio is 32:53 long.
Leave a question or comment about the episode at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Karl Thoennes III
Karl Thoennes III began his career in the courts in Alaska in 1988, ultimately working as a division supervisor at the state’s largest trial court in Anchorage. He was appointed as Court Administrator in Todd County, Minnesota in 1998, and then Stearns County, St. Cloud, two years later. In 2004 he was appointed as Administrator for the Second Judicial Circuit in South Dakota, the state’s largest circuit by population. For the past five years, together with Peter Kiefer, Karl has been the regular columnist on ethics in The Court Manager, a national publication for court leaders. Karl has served as speaker or panelist on a number of state, regional, and national programs including conferences for the National Association for Court Management, the Mid-Atlantic Association for Court Management, and various other colleges, universities, and professional associations in Minnesota and South Dakota. Karl has guest lectured at St. Cloud State University on court structure and management, spoken on international public ethics in Minneapolis, and completed two graduate seminars in public policy in Sapporo, Japan, first as a student and then guest speaker. He holds a Masters degree in public administration from the University of Alaska. Contact: Second Judicial Circuit, 425 N. Dakota Avenue, Sioux Falls, SD 57104. Phone: 605-367-5920. Fax: 605-367-5979. E-mail: email@example.com.
Rick Pierce is the Judicial Programs Administrator for the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts. Rick has served in the field of court administration for the past twenty-nine years. Prior to his appointment at the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, Rick was the district court administrator for Cumberland County. Prior to his 4 ½ year tenure as court administrator, Pierce was the assistant administrator for the 9th judicial district from 1988-1997.
As judicial programs administrator, he is responsible for implementation of programs and education in court administration at the general and limited jurisdiction court levels.
Pierce served as the President for the Mid-Atlantic Association for Court Management for 2005-2006. Previously he has served on the MAACM advisory board from 1997-2005.
A graduate from Washington and Lee University, Pierce received his Masters in Public Administration from Shippensburg University in 1995. He has been an active member of the Pennsylvania Association of Court Management, (PACM) since its inception in 1989. He has served as a board member from 1994-2001, culminating in his presidency in 2000-2001.
Liz Rambo is the Trial Court Administrator for Lane County Circuit Court. As the TCA for one of Oregon’s largest courts, Liz is responsible for all non-judicial court functions including budget, human resources, technology, facilities, and business efficiency. A 31-year court employee, Liz has a history of advocacy for the mission of the Oregon Judicial Department and the service that the Oregon Judicial Branch provides to the public. Liz has served on a variety of judicial branch leadership committees including as Chair of the Chief Justice Communications Committee, member of the Chief Justice Strategic Planning Committee, Law and Policy Workgroup, Internal Audit Committee, the Oregon eCourt Steering Committee.
For the last five years, Liz has worked closely with Lane County leadership toward building a new Lane County Courthouse and will continue to bring her years of experience to that ongoing project through design and construction. Liz graduated with high scholarship from Oregon State University with a BA in history and has an MBA from Portland State University. She is a long-time member of the National Association of Court Management and holds a Court Manager certification from the National Center for State Courts.