BANGOR, Maine — The clerk of the Penobscot Judicial Center has been named Outstanding Judicial Employee of the Year by the Maine court system.
Penny Reckards of Appleton said she was “totally blown away” when she was honored during a training session in Augusta last month.
Reckards shared the award with Sally Bourget of Lisbon Falls, who is clerk of the Cumberland County District and Superior Courts in Portland, according to a press release issued by Mary Ann Lynch, spokeswoman for the judiciary.
The award is conferred upon the person or persons who, during the course of the preceding year, have best exemplified the qualities of competence in providing court services, commitment to public service, respect, courtesy to fellow employees and members of the public and willingness to learn and grow.
“Both women have been absolutely instrumental in implementing major efficiencies in both courthouses,” Chief Justice Leigh I. Saufley of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court said in the press release. “Both were leaders in creating the clerks’ streamlined procedures in the Unified Criminal Docket, consolidating the criminal work of the District and Superior courts into one seamless docket.
“At the same time, both have helped implement in our two largest courts the new Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program passed last year by the Legislature,” the chief justice said. “And as if she did not already have enough to do, Penny Reckards oversaw the clerks’ move from two courthouses in Bangor to the new Penobscot Judicial Center, a move that meant the consolidation of two separate offices of clerks, as well as overseeing the physical logistics.”
Together, Reckards and Bourget have worked for the court system for 57 years, the press release said. Reckards worked at courthouses in Rockland, Bath and Belfast before moving to Bangor in June 2009.
“It is quite an honor to be nominated then selected by a group of your peers to receive this honor,” Reckards said Monday. “There are so many people who are deserving of this award.”
She said that the past year, which included the move to the new courthouse on Exchange Street a year ago, has had its rewards and its challenges.
“The most rewarding part of the job has been the consolidation of the two clerks’ offices and our learning from each other and working together to make things happen,” she said. “The most challenging thing is the size of the building, because often, we are spread out [at remote clerk stations] on the different floors in so many locations. We’ve lost desk time because of it.”
Katrina Baum of Kennebunk was named Judicial Branch Volunteer of the Year.
Joe Morelli of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Department received the Roy Rice Award for contributing to the safety of the courts. Janet Stocco of Belgrade, a law clerk for the District Court, and Amy Veilleux of Winslow, who provides computer service support for court employees, were awarded Special Service Awards.