By Chief Judge Kenneth M. Switzer
On Monday, May the 2nd, the Clerk forwarded an electronic survey to all attorneys on our list who have participated in some manner with the Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims since July 1, 2014. This survey consists of nine areas of performance for each of the judges. It may be completed electronically, or paper copies are available in each regional office until May 28. This blog post is to address a few concerns and answer a few anticipated questions.
The response to the survey electronically is returned to the communications office of the Department of Labor. The only information that the Court receives is the statistical compilation of the results. We do not have any way of knowing who assessed whom, much less how he or she rated a particular judge. This is totally confidential. We see only the statistics.
If you do not want to respond electronically, you may fill out a simple paper survey by checking the name of the judge being evaluated and rating him or her on the designated scale. These paper forms will be dropped in a “ballot box” of sorts. After May 18, they will be entered into the electronic survey system and added to the calculations. Again, all the Court will see are the final results.
Some of you have already expressed concern for “rating” the judges in these categories. You find it disrespectful of the position of judge. In Nashville, at least, the Nashville Bar Association has always polled the practicing bar about judges, especially near election time, and reported the results to the press. In our positions, we do not stand for election. We are appointed. We provide what we hope is a valuable and professional service in conducting our Courts. There are certain minimum characteristics we should exhibit in this service. At the minimum, we should know the law; write clear decisions; be courteous, patient and prompt in issuing orders; be prepared for our hearings and punctual; and be impartial as to attorneys and parties. We believe we meet the standards in these areas, but we need to see if our perception is your reality. If we need to improve in certain areas, we will. If we perform as we should, in your opinion, we should strive to perform even better.
So please, take the time to complete the survey as it applies to the judges with whom you have worked. Your input is valuable to the improvement of our Court system. Thank you.