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2016 Colorado Judicial Excellence Award winners announced

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

DENVER - The Colorado Judicial Department announced today it has recognized five individuals and one team in its Judicial Excellence Awards, honoring employees for exemplary work contributing to the high quality of service provided throughout the state’s 22 judicial districts during 2016.

“Efficient and effective administration of justice in Colorado depends on the Judicial Department’s talented and dedicated workforce,” said Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Nancy E. Rice. “The JEA program honors those whose work exemplifies the high standards we expect of ourselves and which the public deserves.”

Joanne Montero, a 30-year Judicial Department employee who works as a supervisor in the Las Animas County courts, was named Court Employee of the Year, in part for taking on special projects outside the scope of her normal work while demonstrating professionalism, courtesy, and a knack for working closely with all types of people to help ensure the public continues to receive the highest level of service.

The award for Probation Employee of the Year went to Leslie Blum of the 5th Judicial District (Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake and Summit counties), who in addition to her existing workload also is involved in the district’s Management Advisement Committee and team to implement the Strategies for Behavior Change tool for probation clients.

Winning the award for State Court Administrator’s Office Employee of the Year was Jennifer Mendoza, who leads a team focusing primarily on training, education and development for Colorado judicial officers. She was recognized for her superior skills as a facilitator, communicator and motivator.

The Outstanding Team of the Year Award went to Scott Prendergast and Jessica Currat of the Denver Adult Probation office. They were recognized in large part for identifying a need to address noncompliance among opioid-addicted Drug Court offenders and working for two years to develop a ground-breaking program to help such offenders get needed treatment.

Eric Hogue, District Administrator of the 6th and 22nd Judicial Districts (respectively, Archuleta, La Plata and San Juan counties; and Dolores and Montezuma counties), was named Manager of the Year after undertaking several major projects including construction of a new courthouse, major renovation of another courthouse and addressing health and safety issues in a third courthouse. Those accomplishments required diligent cooperation with county commissioners, architects, federal agencies, various contractors and other state Judicial Department personnel while helping eliminate potential roadblocks to each project.

The Hon. James F. Hartmann Jr., Chief Judge of the 19th Judicial District (Weld County), was named Judicial Officer of the Year for his positive and supportive management style that ensures every employee is highly valued. Judge Hartmann’s weekly routine includes building professional relationships by visiting and talking with court and probation employees, continuing his involvement with numerous boards and organizations and timely completing the numerous tasks associated with his court dockets and administrative duties. Judge Hartmann also was recognized for instituting an innovative trial management system in the busiest Water Court in Colorado, leading to a sharp reduction in the number of open water cases and in the average time of disposition of water cases.

Four individuals who have retired or will retire from the Judicial Department this year also were recognized with Distinguished Service Awards:

  • Karen Salaz, who served as Public Information Manager from 2001-07 and as District Administrator in the 19th Judicial District (Weld County) since 2007;
  • Evan Herman, who had served as District Administrator in the 14th Judicial District (Grand, Moffat and Routt counties) since 1989;
  • Kelly Boe, who had served in various positions in the 2nd Judicial District (Denver County) for 28 years, including as District Administrator starting in 2011;
  • The Hon. Gilbert Martinez, who was appointed to the 4th Judicial District (El Paso and Teller counties) bench in 1989 and served as Chief Judge of that district from 1994 to 2007 and again from 2011 to present.
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