Court Clerk Relinquishes Many Row Office Duties | Local News


Courts Clerk Brenda Davis was called to a nearly two-hour meeting on Friday with President Justice John DiSalle and other court officials after relinquishing several of her office duties earlier this month.

The meeting in the DiSalle chambers was apparently focused on seeking a resolution two weeks after Davis filed documents with the Washington County court announcing his intention to no longer perform various roles typically assigned to the clerk of the courts.

Court administrator Patrick Grimm, who attended the meeting, said they agreed to some changes but the situation is becoming burdensome for courthouse operations.

“It makes some operations difficult,” Grimm said. “And in some cases it is not clear who is responsible for carrying out a certain task.”

Davis filed her order in the Prothonotary’s office on September 2 in which she announced that she had waived many “duties and responsibilities” with immediate effect. Davis described 10 jobs she would no longer hold, including a variety of cases involving criminal matters, state Department of Transportation report forms for people trying to reinstate their driver’s licenses, and collecting various payments.

The documents incorrectly claimed that this was a step taken “jointly” with county commissioners, court officials and his office. It seemed to hint at a May decision by commissioners on DiSalle’s recommendation to transfer workers who collect court payments to the registry office to serve on adult probation instead.

But DiSalle responded on September 8 by “suspending” his order and demanded that all applicable functions remain in place until further notice. The Pennsylvania Courts Administration Office sent Davis a letter the next day denying his claim while noting that not all waivers are eligible and those that are permitted must be accompanied by a court order appointing another person to exercise. these functions, which was not the case. pass.

Grimm said the problems persisted, prompting Friday’s meeting. He said defendants trying to reinstate their driver’s licenses were “held back” by the waiver and there had been confusion last week because Davis refused to accept legal fees trying to submit a delisting request for a client.

“I think the clerk of the courts is insisting that his waiver is valid, and I think it’s clear, both from the communication with APOC and from the statute, it’s just not the case, ”said Grimm.

Davis did not respond to a phone message asking for comment on the meeting or his decision to forgo many tasks typically performed by his office. Dennis Makel, attorney for the court clerk, declined to discuss details of the meeting but said they had made progress.

“There is a resolution to some of the elements,” Makel said.

Grimm said he has been working on a “draft agreement” on some of the tasks Davis must continue to perform, although there are other items to be discussed and DiSalle apparently wants them in writing and signed by all parties.

Grimm is not sure what will happen if the problems persist and the Clerk continues to step down.

“It injects a lot of uncertainty into the justice system,” Grimm said. “What happens next?” This is something the presiding judge will have to consider, what are the next steps if we cannot come to a resolution. “

DiSalle threatened to outrage Davis in July when he said she was not cooperating to help implement the changes with collection staff moving to adult probation.

However, no contempt hearing took place and the transition seemed to go smoothly until Davis announced that she was relinquishing many of her responsibilities earlier this month.


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