Good afternoon, everyone,
THE TIME IS NOW AND THE JUDICIAL COUNCIL NEEDS TO HEAR FROM ALL OF US!
As most everyone now knows, our profession is and has been under attack. It has been over a month since the June 4th Judicial Council meeting at Jekyll Island. Judge Sara Doyle, Chairperson of the Court Reporting Matters Committee, has opened up the period for public comment. This window is only open for 60 days. The judicial council has a list of recommendations to vote on in September, and some of them are VERY detrimental to our profession. Whether you are an official court reporter or a freelancer, it is vitally important that you participate in our endeavor to educate the Judicial Council as to what court reporting is all about and voice your concerns regarding these proposed recommendations.
When this started, GCCRA and GSRA (Georgia Shorthand Reporters Association) immediately jumped into action and worked together to draft our own responses to this letter of recommendation. We also organized a grass roots effort to reach all of the 1100+ reporters in the state. We have been educating reporters on these recommendations and our concerns regarding them.
GCCRA and GSRA are still working together to assemble individual notebooks filled with every email and letter that you, our Georgia reporters, judges, attorneys, and any other interested party who wishes to be heard have written. These notebooks will be hand delivered to each Judicial Council member before the September 25th meeting.
September 25th is an important date for all of us, and ALL OF US need to do our best to be at this Judicial Council meeting. The meeting starts at 9:00 a.m. so please be in front of the building no later than 8:30 a.m., not parking your car at 8:30 a.m., but standing in front of the building so that we can all go in together. We are not allowed to speak at this meeting and it is absolutely paramount that we show only respect for the council.
The address and phone number for the Carter Center is
453 Freedom Pkwy NE, Atlanta, GA 30307 (404) 420-5100
I want to personally thank each one of those judges and reporters who have written in. We are extending the deadline to next Wednesday, July 23, 2014 to send in your letter. After that, we must close the window so that we can get these letters compiled, printed, and bound. Again, I IMPLORE everyone on this email list to send in your letter. Send your letter to email@example.com. I know that GSRA and GCCRA’s goal is 600 combined letters. If over 50% of our reporters in Georgia join together, this will really make an impact for our future. And that is the collective term here: “OUR FUTURE.” These final decisions by the Judicial Council WILL AFFECT EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US IN SOME WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM, WHETHER IT IS TODAY OR TOMORROW.
It is VITAL that we ALL write letters and attend the September 25th meeting to show our support for our profession. Let me rephrase that: It is VITAL that YOU write letters and are there on September 25th to show support for YOUR profession. Whether you are machine or voice, official or freelancer, what affects one of us, affects us all.
Please allow me a moment to be very honest and forthright. When the S*&^% hits the fan and we need help for the future of our professions, all of us want our associations to step forward and work on our behalf. And both associations do Tirelessly try on your behalf to make a difference. We donate our time, effort, and talent. This is a volunteer position. Most of the folks on the board have sat on the board for years and have rotated to different positions on the board. I guess between the associations we have 20 or so board members. Don’t get me wrong, we wouldn’t be on the board unless we wanted to be. Nobody is being tied up against his or her will, LOL . . . We love serving and we love trying to make a difference in our profession, but an attractive feature of an association is that it eliminates much of the responsibility of the reporter.
Unfortunately the price of that convenience is sometimes the creation of an atmosphere for apathy. We tend to allow that elite group known as “them”or “they” to operate the Association, attend related meetings, and make important decisions. We need to realize that “them and they” are always made up of “I, we, you, and us.” We all tend to be too busy to participate in association affairs and expect others to stay up-to-date on the affairs of our industry. But IF any association is to be successful, individual reporters must become active and participate in association affairs.
I will go further to say that without YOU the reporters, we are just board members without a cause; we are just not as effective. Dare I say that MOST of the reporters in our state aren’t members of either association? Why is that?
But there is one thing I do know. There is strength in numbers. Your associations NEED YOU to be a part of them. WE NEED YOU to connect with us and with each other. WE NEED YOU to join in our fight for YOU to help keep YOUR future bright! We NEED YOU to support your association so we can do these things. WE NEED YOUR time and YOUR talents and YOUR love and concern for YOUR profession!
So now is the time for us to ask for your support by becoming a member of your association. Association membership is something reporters in our industry think of as optional, but with YOUR help, OUR accomplishments could become mind-blowing and industry altering.
So what can YOUR association accomplish? Here are some things to look at:
- TOGETHER, WE ARE STRONGER: Look at what is happening now with the AOC. I think that the AOC would like to get rid of reporters. There, I said it. I really think that. What can we do about that? GCCRA is determined to represent court reporters in this “fight” with the AOC. We are asking you to join the association because a portion of your membership goes directly to the DEFENSE FUND to help fight for ALL OF US! Together, we can work towards this goal of realtime capable. Together, we can afford a lobbyist to give us that time to work towards this goal. Together, we can set the standard in Georgia for reporting excellence and stop ER in its tracks.
- GCCRA represents ALL reporters: voice and steno have an equal vote and an equal standing. The GCCRA Board feels strongly that no one reporter or groups of reporters should be seen as the “vocal minority.” We represent all methods of takedown. All are important to us and all are important for sustaining all aspects of reporting. We would love to have you join our association. I am personally inviting you to do so now.
- COST: Some folks think that association membership is so expensive; they can’t afford it. Membership is $125 per year and $25 of that goes to the Defense Fund to keep our lobbyist able to fight for the rights of ALL REPORTERS. Let’s break that down. Association membership costs you 34 cents per day. That is 1/3 the cost of a cup of coffee. When you calculate it out, and see it as a daily number, we know that you can look at that and understand it’s very affordable to have YOUR association working for you on a larger scale each and every day.
- I’d have to be involved, or go to meetings:
Membership in GCCRA does not come with requirements for attendance to anything. Supporting the association with dues is one of the most important gestures a reporter can make. Those funds go towards all of the activities that we’re involved in such as the upcoming October 4th seminar that is just $75 for members! All 10 credits in just one day! This is for YOU! Our board sat down and tried to find the most cost effective way for our reporters in Georgia to get their credits and most of our board is volunteering their time to teach or present at the seminar in order to make that happen. Now, whether or not you want to attend the board meetings, which are open to all members, the legislative functions, the reporting dinners, the annual seminars, or anything else that GCCRA holds is 100% your prerogative.
Of course, we would love to have YOUR participation to promote connectivity in the reporter community. We would love to have YOUR awesome talents as a volunteer to help us coordinate, organize and recruit other volunteers for various endeavors, YOUR wonderful stories and thoughts for our new website blog I will be posting, YOUR willingness to volunteer and mentor students and new reporters, YOUR social media skills to help get the word out about best practices or location of the court reporting dinner that Dessa offers monthly, YOUR assistance in finding data and statistics that support our work, and YOUR decision to be actively involved in moving court reporting towards a bright future! However, if you’d rather be shopping, then so be it!
THANK YOU for letting me write to you and THANK YOU for reading this letter. Visit the rest of our new website (www.gccra.org) and I ask you to join or renew your membership!
Feel free to contact me to find out more information. I am always here for you. And DON’T FORGET TO WRITE YOUR LETTER and attend the meeting on September 25th!