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Disputed county courts report moving forward with broader support

A controversial study of El Paso’s courts may finally be moving forward with the support of judges themselves.

With just more than a week officially as the county chief administrator, Betsy Keller has apparently been making progress in resolving a major dispute between county leaders and judges.

“The judicial management report I think is in a completely different level now,” Keller said.

The report was the subject of a lot of arguments between the council of judges and commissioners court in recent history. Commissioners supporting it said it was about getting a better understanding on how courts worked, while judges said it was deeply flawed and just playing politics.

But it was a different story during the last update.

“I want to thank commissioners court,” said Judge Alma Trejo, administrative judge for the council of judges. “Last week there was about 80 of us that were certified in court tools. And I think what that’s going to do is at some point we’re not going to need two sets of reports, which could kind of conflict each other, or eventually be identical.”

Trejo spoke to the progress during Monday’s commissioners court meeting.

“Thank you so much,” Trejo said. “I know that was a big investment. We’re looking forward to starting our court performance measures.”

It’s more than just overcoming arguments. By not having to create separate measurements, county employee time could be saved in the creation of the reports. And once complete, it’s intended to be used to save money.

“Look for trends, patterns that will help us find what delays may there be in the judicial system,” Keller said, “and help us move it forward for our citizens.”

The work between commissioners court and the council of judges on the report is expected to save about 200 work hours on the final report. It’s expected to be completed in the coming months.

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