For immediate release: November 19, 2003
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Cape May County Municipal Courts 1st to Achieve Full Certification of All Municipal Court Administrators
Cape May County municipal courts are the first in New Jersey where every municipal court administrator has achieved state certification, today announced Dennis L. Bliss, chair of the Municipal Court Administrator Certification Board. The announcement was made in Atlantic City at the annual conference of the Municipal Court Administrators Association of New Jersey.
"Cape May has established the standard for qualification excellence in municipal court administration," said Mr. Bliss. "The goal now is to achieve that standard throughout the state and make New Jersey's municipal court administrators, through the certification program, the best qualified in the country."
The three-part certification process consists of 105 hours of coursework, written and oral exams, and the development of a written court improvement project. The coursework includes the study of administration, operations and management of municipal courts; and advanced study of the municipal court computerized case tracking system and NJMCDirect, the online payment system. The court improvement project must contribute to the administration of justice in the municipal courts and further a Court's interests as a part of the local community.
Retaining certification requires a career-long commitment to professionalism. Municipal court administrators must be re-certified every three years, during which they must acquire 45 hours of continuing education credits in order to qualify for re-certification.
Municipal Court Presiding Judge Louis J. Belasco, who oversees operations of municipal courts in Cape May and Atlantic Counties, offered his praise. "I have had the opportunity to see first-hand the dedication and professionalism of the Cape May County municipal court administrators. I am pleased that their combined effort to achieve the mark of distinction that comes with certification has brought this recognition they so richly deserve," said Judge Belasco.
According to legislation signed in 1994, the Municipal Court Administrator Certification Board establishes courses and designs examinations for certification of municipal court administrators. The Judiciary municipal services division administers the program. The legislation was written in response to the growing demand for managerial skills and the increasing professionalism required of those responsible for the daily operations for the state's 536 municipal courts.
Robert Smith, assistant director of municipal court services for the state's Judiciary, said: "This is an important milestone in the Judiciary's vision to certify every municipal court administrator in New Jersey."
Currently, 320 of the state's 536 municipal court administrators are certified, and another 147 court administrators and deputy court administrators are in the process of obtaining certification. Cape May County has 14 certified municipal court administrators.
Judge Richard J. Williams, administrative director of the courts, spoke to the conference of municipal court administrators. "We are proud of the professionalism demonstrated by those municipal court administrators who have dedicated significant time and effort to achieving certification," said Judge Williams. "Certification is not easy, and Cape May County municipal courts have distinguished themselves by having every one of their administrators certified."Detailed information about certification for municipal court administrators is available on the Judiciary's Web site at njcourtsonline.com.