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Delaware Docket Newsletter
Spring 2012


On March 20, 2012, the Justice of the Peace Court held a Management Retreat including judges, managers, court security managers, and administrative staff. The goal of the retreat was to refocus energy on the development of innovative and effective court management tools. Speakers included Judge Patricia Costello, Assignment Judge for the Superior Court of New Jersey " Essex Vicinage and Jim Imperatrice, Former Chief Clerk for Criminal Matters, Kings County, New York State.

Mr. Imperatrice's presentation focused on the difference between "quality" service versus "customer" service and stressed the importance of the former given the court's customer base. For example, he suggested that people visiting the courthouse are generally not enthusiastic about their visit, are not here by choice, and are often upset, frustrated, and confused. This is different from the traditional customer-based service model and requires a different focus. He stressed the importance of providing quality service and challenged the group to focus on the following seven S.E.R.V.I.C.E. concepts:

S = Self-Awareness: Court employees need to have self-awareness, being aware of their own needs before they can serve others.
E = Empathy: Understanding our clients and having empathy for their needs is critical to providing quality service.
R = Responsibility: When individuals take responsibility for how they view situations, they can make better decisions.
V = Value: We need to value why we are providing the service, the basic mission of the court.
I = Integrity: Honesty and fairness are essential in dealing with others.
C = Commitment: Our commitment to excellence will inspire others.
E = Energy: Energy and motivation are key to doing the right thing.

Judge Costello spoke to the critical nature of shared responsibility between judges and court administrators. She suggested that to effectively run our courts, we have a duty to mentor leaders and tap the diverse motivations and perspectives of both judges and staff to effectively solve problems and enhance operations. Judge Costello encouraged the group to look closely at how external and internal challenges are handled within the JP Court.

During the breakout session, various groups worked together to develop project ideas that would enhance the operation of the court which were presented to the full group at the end of the session.

JP Retreat The Honorable Patricia Costello from the Superior Court, Essex Vicinage, Newark, New Jersey, and James Imperatrice, the former Chief Clerk of the Supreme Court in Kings County, New York, speaking, along with Chief Magistrate Alan G. Davis, at the Justice of the Peace Court's recent management retreat.
JP Retreat

Suggestions for court improvements ranged from centralizing more services, to improving customer services, focusing on cultural sensitivity issues, and enhancing training programs. The next steps for the court will be to set more specific goals, objectives, and strategies to implement improvements based on the project recommendations made during the retreat.