August 18, 2022

Staff recognition at the Courts is everyone’s business

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Court staffWhen most think of the “court,” judges and magistrates come to mind – and we even think of the building itself.  Rarely do we think of the teams of people behind the scene ensuring that the machinery of justice runs smoothly.

At the Court itself, however, this is very much at the forefront of those at the controls, demonstrated in a ceremony – and the preliminary arrangements – to recognise those who work behind the scenes to ensure justice is dispensed efficiently.

Accordingly, selection was a democratic process – the staff itself nominated and selected members in several rounds of voting that ultimately resulted in recognition of persons from a range of areas: Best Customer Service Award was bestowed on Loretta Rankin, while joint second went to Carlene Lindsay and Suzanne Livingston; Best Level of Service (excluding marshals, bailiffs, police officers or security officers) was nabbed by Suzanne Livingston, followed by Lacey Quesada; Emelson Principe, who received over 90% of the votes, won Best Level of Service (in the category of marshals, bailiffs, police officers or security officers).

Other awards went to Wilma Ebanks, who was recognised as Exemplary Team Player, with Suzanne Livingston second; Tatiana Hodgson won Best Attendance award (followed by Roseita Ebanks, Devon Gow and Katrina Watler), while a special award went to Julissa Brown, for her exceptional commitment and dedication as a volunteer, intern, and now staff member.

“It was a real pleasure to present the awards for the Staff Recognition Scheme in which more than 50 people voted out of a staff of just over 60,” said Court Administrator Kevin McCormac.  “Being nominated was a real honour and many congratulations to those voted as the best in each category.”

Mr. McCormac credited Court Human Resource Director Patricia Muschette as the driving force behind the success of the whole recognition process: “It is always difficult to pick out individuals for mention when it is a real team effort, but we owe so much to Ms. Muschette for her enthusiasm and her drive, and to the whole of the committee that supported her in the run up and on the day of the awards.

For her part, Ms. Muschette said that the committee’s job was greatly aided by the cooperation and motivation of staff: “It is fascinating to see how intrinsically motivated staff are despite the general austerity.”  For most, she said, working at the court was not about a pay check – “they care about their responsibilities – they have CEO minds.”

Some of this re-invigoration, the Human Resource Director said, was inspired by the introduction of e-processes to assist staff in working “a lot smarter,” and to related and other training.  “Staff are also motivated to access training and development themselves.”

Another sign of the positive trend at the Courts is the level of integration among staff at all levels. This was evidenced, Ms. Muschette said, at the staff Christmas party which had a “Mad Hatter” theme, and everyone, including the Judges and Magistrates, came in costume.

All of these staff motivation efforts are being developed into a formal recognition policy, Ms. Muschette said, in which awards become part of a larger scheme.

But so far, the outcomes are encouraging.  Ms Tatiana Hodgson, whose award in best attendance category shows her commitment, has been working in HR for three years. She said, “I love what I do — it is interesting and contributes to staff well-being.” Miss Hodgson joined as a volunteer intern in 2011 as part of the Passport to Success programme.

Another Passport to Success graduate who joined as a volunteer at the reception desk and later in filing, and who was also recognised for her commitment is Ms. Julissa Brown, a full-time filing clerk. She continues to demonstrate in deed and word the dedication that resulted in her award:  “I enjoy my work and I am glad to be a part of the Judicial Administration.”

Much more senior Wilma Ebanks credits her motivation to her Christian principles: “Whenever we do work we should ‘work as unto the Lord’ – not as if we were working for man,” she said quoting from the Bible’s Colossians.  Ms. Ebanks joined eight years ago and is now supervisor for the Family Proceedings Unit.

Another staffer who rose through the ranks is Loretta Rankin, who earned Best Customer Service Award.  She started off as messenger 16 years ago, and is now an Executive Officer in the Civil Registry of the department.

Ms. Suzanne Livingston nabbed the Best Level of Service award in her category, as well as two seconds in other areas. Her recognition came as no surprise as she has a

reputation, says the HR director, of “living” at the Courts since joining in 2008 as the

Personal Assistant to Justice Quin.

“I am motivated by the many challenges in this tremendous learning environment,” said Ms. Livingston.


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