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President's Message March 2018
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President's Message
by Geoffrey L. Hunt, AAERT President

 

As I write this message, many of our members are slogging through another nor’ easter including power outages, court closings, and all of the inconveniences and work interruptions that brings. I am sure that I speak for all of us in the northern climes when I say, “come on spring.”

It seems to me that during the first quarter of the year, it takes time to generate momentum. Work takes a hiatus over the holidays, the cold weather sets in, and humans retreat to the indoors. I can imagine our members sitting in the courtrooms, conference rooms, and at their computers, headphones donned while fingers fly across the keyboards. This is a time to get busy and get work done.

Our Board of Directors met this January in Providence, Rhode Island for the mid-year meeting. The Board typically stages the mid-year at the facility where the annual conference will be held in June. We stayed at the beautiful Renaissance Providence Hotel. It sits directly across the boulevard from the Rhode Island State Capitol building and up the street from the shopping district. Needless to say, our stay was brief, productive, chilly, and we all enjoyed this venue.

Executive Director Mike Tannen and his Conference Committee have assembled a blockbuster agenda of programs and guest speakers for the AAERT Annual Conference this June. Early registration discounts end May 17th. Among other topics covered, education and certification testing programs will have a special emphasis. We have assembled new sponsorship packages for our vendors and corporate members to participate in. Some of the new features include bundled packages with website advertising, banner ads, and exhibit space incentives. Our guest speaker will be Judge Thomas J. Londregan and his session will be on Indian Law and Tribal Court Jurisdiction.

If you have never traveled to this part of the country, you have to come and visit us in Providence. This beautiful city, and New England as well, offer a rich culture, incredible sites, and tourist attractions. A short drive puts you on the beaches of Cape Cod and Nantucket, close to the seafood restaurants of Boston, and in range of the charming fishing villages along the down east coast of Maine. Don’t miss it.

I am happy to inform you that your Board of Directors has approved another 2-year contract with T-TEAM Management. Mike Tannen and his team, Sherry Simmons and Maria Tannen, have done a great job for the past eight years running the day-to-day operations of AAERT. T-TEAM brings professionalism, stability, and consistency of service that we need to maintain and grow our association. Thank you, Mike.

Rick Russell has accepted the responsibility of overseeing our election process as chair of the Nomination Committee. This very important role facilitates the development of our association’s leadership. Leadership is the most influential and critical element of all associations and businesses. Effective leaders should possess the tools and skills to inspire and impact their colleagues. As a good leader, you should understand the mission statements, objectives, action plans, and goals of the association. Through our chosen leaders’ efforts, AAERT will achieve the goals and objectives they design. Court reporters and transcribers are very busy people. They possess a knack for time management. The time commitment for being a Director is reasonable. The reward you receive from being part of leadership far outweighs the time and effort expended. If you or someone you know wants to contribute and make a difference, consider running for office. Nominations open March 23rd.

We have had a great response to the recent surveys. Jennifer Metcalf-Razzino, CER and Lisa Dees, CER worked diligently creating the questions and reviewing the responses. The information we receive from these surveys is used by management and the board to understand our members’ needs and concerns. Congratulations to those participants who received the gift certificates.

Certification continues to be a hot topic. There is a growing number of states and government agencies requiring our CER and CET certifications. AAERT certified reporters and transcribers are in demand. Registration for our next testing cycle begins May 15, 2018 and closes June 15, 2018. Testing will take place July 15 through 30, 2018. Don’t miss this opportunity to qualify for more work.

On the national stage, AAERT has been made aware of the implementation of digital recording methods in South Carolina and Georgia. We have offered our help and support towards their goals. We are also seeing a rise in inquiries for digital court reporting certification from Tennessee.

The issue of contracting for court reporting services has surfaced again. If you are not aware, contracting is a formal and legally binding agreement made between a freelance court reporting agency and another entity to provide court reporting services. These contracts generally include a discounted rate to the clients or to parties in a lawsuit. This was a hot topic in the 90s when states like Georgia created anti-contracting rules prohibiting the practice. Recently, Virginia passed SB545 which prohibits contracting. This only affects the freelance court reporters taking depositions. Insurance companies and several national court reporting agencies are in favor of contracting. Valid arguments say that it is good business or it is unethical to enter into a contractual agreement with clients. This is a heated discussion and passionate arguments are being made in favor of or against contracting regulations. If this affects you and your business, monitor your state boards of court reporting and legislatures for new activity concerning this topic. You can always contact our Government Relations Committee for more information.

Don’t worry. Spring is around the corner. I hope to see you all in Providence, Rhode Island.


Geoffrey L. Hunt, AAERT President

geoffhunt@huntreporting.com


 

 

 

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