It's amazing to me to think that I have now been with the San Joaquin County Bar Association as interim executive director for over six months! Originally, we talked about it taking perhaps 90-120 days to evaluate processes, fill some openings, and help the Board of Governors with their selection of a permanent director. However, what has occurred since, and the challenges we have faced and overcome, are also things to really reflect upon and appreciate. We also need to recognize and appreciate the efforts of many people who have worked at all times with the best interests of our organization in mind.
In the last issue of Across the Bar, SJCBA President Michael Norton expressed it so well when he talked about change and how sometimes it can be painful. We have certainly had our share of change and a bit of associated pain, however we also have to appreciate those who have helped us through those many changes. Thank you to the Board of Governors and, in particular, its executive committee and to the staff who, while working short-handed, always continued forward with focus on getting things done right.
Still on the theme of change, a very significant change is upon us with our upcoming move to a new location. Our plan is to move over the weekend of October 27-28 and to be back up and running on Monday, October 29. It is fair to anticipate there will be some pain in this particular change; however, we will emerge in much nicer offices located at 6 South El Dorado Street, Suite 315, which is affectionately referred to by many as the "In-Shape" building.
In another change, former billing coordinator Mario Padron moved on to another job and we began immediately to seek out a new Court Assigned Counsel ("CAC") billing analyst. We found an outstanding and well-experienced person in Juanita Barboza. She just started on September 17 and she is excited to be part of our team, as are we to have her. She will focus on CAC billing analysis and any issues surrounding that. She will become very familiar with both the CAC billing policy and the terms of our CAC contract with San Joaquin County. My direction to her is to closely adhere to policy and the CAC contract requirements at all times. During the transition I ask that everyone remember that there are many aspects of this job and it will take time to be proficient in all phases. We are confident that Juanita is the right person to be very successful in this effort.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention how important it was to create a bridge for our CAC billing while seeking to hire a person to take over that job. We all owe a big thank you to Janette Rossell (our dispute resolution coordinator) for agreeing to step up and temporarily take on the additional role of CAC billing while also doing her main job with Dispute Resolution Services. We indeed had some pain in this temporary situation but the goal remained to make certain that we did our very best while also adhering to policies and the additional requirements of the new CAC contract. Janette has handled this very well under difficult conditions and she truly deserves our appreciation.
On a related note, after Janette submitted our first billing under the new contract, I was advised by our county CAC contract representative that everything submitted was in absolute perfect order. Additionally, the county expressed appreciation for Janette, whom it described as an extremely cooperative and pleasurable to work with. Our entire staff, small but capable, came through again.
I will end by expressing my appreciation to the San Joaquin County Bar Association/Foundation for allowing me to be a part of your bar family, if only for this brief period of time. I especially appreciate the board's confidence in me, the very focused and dedicated work of the executive committee, and the cooperation of my small but hard-working staff. Next challenge? No problem, we will address it fully, honestly, to the best of our ability and with a can-do attitude.