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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Ind. Courts - Challenging job opportunity, running appellate clerk's office

The Supreme Court has just posted this job: Deputy Clerk of Indiana Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and Tax Court. The applications are due by May 7, 2014. Salary range: $85,000 - $110,000 depending on experience and qualifications. (Interestingly, the current deputy clerk's salary is listed by the state transparency database at $84,706.)

This is an important and high pressure position. On Jan. 31, 2006 then-Chief Justice Shepard announced that:

Supreme Court Administrator Kevin S. Smith will permanently add the duties of Clerk of the Courts to his responsibilities as part of the transition of the Clerk’s position from an elected position to an appointed one, Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard announced today.

The present Clerk of the Courts, David C. Lewis, announced Monday that he is resigning February 10, 2006 to take a job in the private sector.

Under legislation passed in 2004, the Clerk’s position was changed from an elected position to one appointed by the Chief Justice whenever the elected Clerk completes his or her term, or leaves office. Mr. Lewis’ current term would have expired December 31, 2006.

Mr. Smith has been the Supreme Court Administrator, serving as the Supreme Court’s chief appellate counsel and supervising a staff of 8 since 2004. Under the new arrangement announced today, he will also supervise the 14 employees in the Clerk’s office.

“I told the Clerk's staff this morning that for many years Indiana's appellate courts and the public have greatly benefited from effective and accurate work by our Clerk's Office. We have every reason to believe the Clerk’s office will continue to build upon its already substantial foundation,” said Chief Justice Shepard.

David Schanker, who has been serving as Mr. Lewis’s Chief of Staff, will continue in a similar capacity but with the new title, Deputy Clerk of the Courts. The Clerk’s Office is the “front door” of Indiana’s appellate judiciary where appeals to the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and Tax Court are filed. The Clerk’s office is also the custodian of the millions of pages of documents filed each year in Indiana’s appellate and runs a substantial operation to preserve vital court records in a lasting format.

Mr. Smith had been named Supreme Court administrator in Oct. of 2004, according to this ILB post, detailing his background. According to the Indiana transparency website, his salary currently is $121, 637.

The deputy clerk position was last advertised on Feb. 5, 2007, according to this Feb. 5, 2007 ILB post:

A job posting on the Indiana Courts website is advertising the position of Deputy Clerk of Indiana Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and Tax Court.

David Schanker, who currently holds the Indiana position, reportedly is headed to Wisconsin to assume a similar spot there.

Last year about this same time (Jan. 31, 2006), the ILB posted this entry reporting that the Supreme Court was merging the Clerk of Courts position with the Court Administrator position. This followed upon legislation passed in 2004, where the Clerk’s position was changed from an elected position to one appointed by the Chief Justice whenever the elected Clerk completed his or her term, or left office.

Per this March 22, 2007 ILB entry, Heather Smith was selected to fill the deputy clerk position.

There has been some criticism over the years, including in the ILB (lost cases, sudden/odd changes in formatting expectations, etc), of the responsiveness of the clerk's office, and of its ability to innovate to resolve problems. Some harken back to the time when the position was elective and responsible to the voters. Now the Deputy Clerk reports to the Clerk/Supreme Court Administrator who reports to the Chief Justice.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 29, 2014 01:27 PM
Posted to Courts in general