Local 333 Member,

I’m not sure if you heard the Governor’s update yesterday, but it appears that the “pause” will be lifted, effective May 15th, in the Finger Lakes, Southern Tier & Mohawk Valley Regions. Based on this information, the Chief Judge and Chief Administrative Judge have determined that courts in the following Judicial Districts (and/or counties) will be authorized to accept new matters/filings (i.e. no longer limited to just essential matters), effective Monday May 18th :

3rd JD (Schoharie);
4th JD (Fulton & Montgomery);
5th JD (Herkimer & Oneida);
6th JD (Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Schuyler, Tioga, Tompkins, Otsego);
7th JD (Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, Yates); and
8th JD (Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming).

While Judges will continue to handle cases virtually to the fullest extent possible just as they are now and the majority of our employees will continue to work remotely from home, it has also been determined that Judges, their Chambers staff, a limited number of support and/or back office staff and uniformed personnel, will be required to report to their respective courts on Monday to begin ramping up for the next Phase of resuming operations — processing the mail, clearing up backlogs and data entry etc.

The Administrative Judges were required to submit their staffing plans for this first Phase to the DCAJ by the end of business yesterday. We expect to be receiving more details as to the titles and numbers that will be reporting to each court/location shortly. The initial plan is for staff (other than Judges and Chambers Staff) to be on 2 week rotations wherever possible, so, for example, the back office staff that comes in Monday would report to work for the 2 weeks thereafter and be replaced by another group of employees that would report the following 2 weeks and so on. Employees that are needed to report on Monday for Phase I will be contacted today by their supervisor or a local court manager. If there are any particular issues with reporting, they should be prepared to raise them at that time.

Buildings that have been closed during this time will undergo enhanced cleaning prior to staff reporting. Representatives from our Local are doing walkthroughs with management starting today. OCA has already ordered additional plexiglass to be used to separate employees from members of the public at windows/counters, additional signage about required face coverings and social distancing, floor markings to be placed 6 feet apart in high traffic areas such as the entry points and magnetometers, and additional masks, sanitizer and gloves. All of these safety precautions should be installed and distributed to these facilities prior to reopening.

It was announced yesterday that the Capital District has achieved six of the seven criteria needed to lift the “pause”. In preparation for that inevitability we are also doing walkthroughs with management in several Capital District counties starting today. Some employees in the Capital District have already been contacted and told they may need to be ready to report to work. This is all being done in anticipation of the Governor releasing the “pause” on these Capital District counties. We have already brought up the childcare issue that many of our members may face due to the schools and daycare facilities remaining closed. We are already working with OCA and the Districts to come up with a way to address this specific issue as fairly as possible. We will continue to share information with our members as we receive it.

Stay Safe
Scott Gartland
CSEA Judiciary Local 333