Park City woman nets state judicial branch award

Marlo Pronovost
Thursday, December 6, 2018
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Courtesy photo

Kathryn Stanley at the award ceremony in Helena.

Exemplary work as a court administrator responsible for overseeing three criminal and civil schedules in three counties netted Park City’s Kathryn Stanley the 2018 Montana Judicial Branch employee of the year award.

Stanley was presented with the award last month by Montana Supreme Court Chief Mike McGrath at a ceremony in Helena. Also present was 22nd Judicial District Judge Blair Jones, who nominated Stanley for the award. It was one of four presented.

Stanley has served as the 22nd Judicial Court Administrator since its inception 19 years ago.

“During the first year of Kathryn’s employment, she set up the office model for this new district without any guidance or help,” said McGrath at the ceremony. “Due to Kathryn’s efficiency, this model continues to serve the district well to this day.”

Her recent work in spending countless hours making sure the court continued to function when an unexpected medical emergency resulted in Jones’s absence was also noted.

“Kathryn contacted attorneys and coordinated with neighboring judges to ensure hearings were held in a timely manner, all to accommodate the absence of Judge Jones.  The size of the district and the three large and diverse counties made this task especially difficult,” said McGrath.

Stanley’s duties as court administrator are primarily the overall management of all civil, criminal, family, probate, mental health and juvenile cases filed in Stillwater, Carbon and Big Horn counties. Those total more than 1,100 cases each year.

And with them come conferences with attorneys, hearings and trials, along with orders and decisions made on those matters, which are prepared, mailed and filed with the appropriate clerk of court. Stanley is also responsible for running the state’s video network equipment for hearings with out-of-county parties.

The yearly budget preparation for district and youth courts also falls to Stanley.

Because Judge Jones travels more than 1,200 miles every month, Stanley is the court liaison with other judges, county attorneys, sheriffs, public defenders, clerks of court, law enforcement, state and local agencies and the public.

That means that Stanley is tasked with making many decisions — something with which she is comfortable, given the fact she has worked with Jones for a total of 24 years.

While Jones and McGrath spoke to Stanley’s professional competence, her concern and kindness was also highlighted.

In Jones’ nomination letter, he wrote of how Stanley had gone “to great lengths to accommodate those most impacted” by his absence due to the medical issue. Jones recalled that when District Judge Randal Spaulding from Roundup came to Stillwater to preside over a day of court hearings, Stanley made sure he was well taken care of by treating him, and the entire court staff, to an “authentic Texas style BBQ lunch,” which Stanley had prepared.

“This concern for others and persistent drive for excellence demonstrates the quality of Kathryn’s 19-year commitment to the 22nd Judicial District and the Judicial Branch,” wrote Jones in his letter.  “I can think of no one more deserving of this year’s Judicial Branch employee recognition award.”